News Limited now moves to a voluntary consolidation model. This is particularly appealing to Victorian newsagents who have been at the forefront of territory consolidation for years and have been held back by the News T2020 process.
While there will be speculation about the reasons for the decision by News and claims by associations that they have driven this decision, I am certain the company made the decision because it suits them at this time. This is their decision and not something forced on them by anyone.
I see it as a pragmatic decision based on the challenges experienced in trying to consolidate territories in a state where newspaper home delivery has been in crisis for some years. Just over a year ago I claimed that the company was in crisis in relation to newspaper home delivery. They vehemently denied this at the time and engaged in an offensive pitching that they had a plan. Months later, T2020 was the plan.
While T2020 as planned will not happen, I am certain we will see consolidation, maybe faster than the company actually planned.
The needs of News Limited which were driving their pursuit of T2020 remain. Newsagents need consolidation. Indeed, many need the ability to hand back their runs urgently.
In the meantime, there are newsagents in Queensland in the middle of consolidation under the T2020 rules /guidelines who need attention from News. There is even an argument for compensation given the commercial impact of the now suspended changes that they had had ti live with for many months. These newsagents need independent professional advice.