An email today from the ANF to members was solely about Hubbed, the agency business in which the ANF has a 5% share. The email underscores a conflict for the ANF as the national association representing newsagents. The email, essentially a promotional letter from Hubbed, indicates that Hubbed is relying on ANF staff:
We are taking on additional staff as we speak and also leaning heavily on our friends at the ANF to provide support in the roll out process so that we can effectively manage document receipt, installation, training and marketing.
There are other suppliers who provide the ANF with real dollars funding for conferences and award sponsorships who could want to lean on the ANF for staff support. Why is the ANF providing this to Hubbed and is such a tight relationship healthy for newsagent members and the channel more widely?
Just by asking these questions some will say, as they have done recently, that I am talking Hubbed down. I am not. rather I am seeking transparency for newsagents.
The ANF love affair with Hubbed must be challenged since the ANF is not doing this on behalf of members. While there have been some answers to some of the questions I have raised, I am yet to see any evidence of reasonable due diligence on the Hubbed business model for newsagents.
As I have noted previously, I’d like to see a public debate to test the business model and the newsagent contractual arrangements at the core of the model. If Hubbed is as good as the ANF Hubbed partnership says it is then it would emerge from the debate in a stronger position.
As for the rest of the email – which was thin on specific detail, I am surprised they are rolling out Hubbed given the challenges some tell me of getting a consistent contract.