Ten News last night ran a story on Hubbed, the bill payment / parcel service in which the ANF has a commercial stake. The reporter called me yesterday morning about the story and as I was in Cairns all day on business I could not be interviewed.
The story was misleading in that newsagents have had access to the parcels services well before the launch of Hubbed. Plus the alternative services have no capital cost associated with them.
The story was incomplete in assessing the bill payment side: whether there is growth and how it’s done using the Hubbed kiosk versus the Australia Post offering.
The story did not look at the costs newsagents face in getting into Hubbed. One newsagent said two or three parcels a day makes him money. I’m not sure if this is the case once you account for labour, retail space and the cost of financing any infrastructure Hubbed require you to take on.
The pitch I have seen from Hubbed requires newsagents to take on a lease commitment for some years – releasing to Hubbed capital which newsagents fund? I can’t see the equipment or software provided by newsagents as being worth the amount they are being asked to fund – leaving me to wonder about the additional money newsagents are being asked to fund.
The ANF engaged previously with me on Hubbed but is yet to answer questions put to them. Link for more I have written on Hubbed.
My view is that the future of today’s retail newsagency relies on us being smart retailers generating net new traffic from retail endeavour far more so than through providing agency type services.