STOP MAGAZINE OVERSUPPLY is the headline stripped across the cover of the October 1998 edition of National Newsagent magazine. Inside, the magazine has a series of reports about the challenges of magazine supply encountered by newsagents and what various stakeholders think about this. Plenty reporting on the problems, some suggested solutions but – as time has shown, no resolution.
One thing that struck me re-reading the magazine is the number of supplier representatives we have dealt with over the years who have joined our channel, looked at magazine distribution and said it’s not fair and that they would do everything possible to resolve this. Then they move on.
The head of Network Distribution Company at the time, Godron Toft, is quoted as calling for a minimum 50% sell through for magazines. He said Network already achieved that figure. Toft was probably right overall but certainly wrong on a title by title basis, especially if you took out ACP titles from the network pool. Toft’s call and claim are a good example of data being manipulated to serve suppliers and not newsagents.
Newsagents today are responding to magazine oversupply by cutting magazine display space. While this can fix parts of the problem, it does not necessarily feed into long-term business plans for a newsagency of the future. My view is that a reasonable magazine range is important to attracting a viable mix and number of customers to a newsagency.
I came across this issue of National Newsagent yesterday when culling some old papers. It’s not the only material from fifteen and more years ago about magazine distribution to newsagencies.