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Do changes at magazine distributor Network Services indicate newsagents are less of a focus?

Mark Fletcher
March 11th, 2014 · 12 Comments

Changes announced internally at Network Services last week read to me like a downgrade in focus on newsagents. While the company will deny this, my view is based on the backgrounds of those they are promoting into newsagent related roles and considering the experience of those they are promoting out of newsagent related roles.

  1. After 7 years in the role of Group GM of Network Services including responsibility for Magshop and Netlink in NZ, Niall Murphy is moving to a non distribution role at Bauer Custom Media. Niall’s knowledge will be a loss.
  2. Tony Edwards will take the role of Group GM – Retail Distribution. He’ll have  responsibility for  Network Services and Netlink in Australia and New Zealand. Tony 13 years experience of working within the industry including managing Netlink NZ and more recently as Client Services Director for Network. The downside is a lack of knowledge and experience of the Australian marketplace. Our magazine distribution model is unique.
  3. David James is taking on the role of Group GM – Magshop & Subscriptions Services. The goal here to build a more integrated service offering within the Print & Digital subscriptions according to the internal announcement. David moving from a management role in Network in the distribution area will be a loss to the business and to newsagents.
  4. Marena Paul takes a newly created role – Commercial Manager Retail & Operations. This role will oversee  distribution and subscriptions areas as well as providing commercial strategy support.

Further to this, the person now with management responsibility of the call centre has a large corporate account background. They have no experience with small business owners like newsagents.

Last year network lost key call centre staff and we are still feeling the experience of this today. Whereas Network services used to have a clear escalation process that worked, today the company does not – although it will deny this.

Network Services in 2014 appears to me to be more focused on national retailers than single business operators like newsagents.

11 likes

Category: magazine distribution · magazines · Newsagency challenges

12 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Osie Nigro // Mar 11, 2014 at 5:36 PM

    Publishers & Distributors should be putting more resources into Newsagents & focusing on the number one selling group in Australia. Why build up Coles & Woolworths to a point where one day they might put you out of business, so many examples to draw on, doesn’t make sense does it? A real lack of vision in my opinion!

    3 likes

  • 2 Mark Fletcher // Mar 11, 2014 at 6:04 PM

    Osie the frustration is the focus the supermarkets and P&C channels already get. you’re right, suppliers will ultimately rue the day.

    1 likes

  • 3 john Fitzpatrick // Mar 11, 2014 at 7:52 PM

    Mark,

    While on Bauer and Network I received an email today, asking why I wasn’t in the Emerald Club our (current ranking 8/64 in SA and 58/1432 national), well it’s simple really – Distribution only can’t get in!

    Even through Bauer owns Network and we’re good customers we don’t spend enough in the right classification’s.

    So at the next Connections Conference Distribution only Newsagencies (if any attend – why would they?) will not receive an invitation to the Emerald Dinner – BUT newsagents with smaller monthly accounts who don’t make as much money for Bauer/Network group will enjoy the wine!

    Such is life!

    Regards

    John

    1 likes

  • 4 Mark Fletcher // Mar 11, 2014 at 8:07 PM

    Interesting John. I used to be a big champion of Connections. The Pacific nexus program offers more practical support for newsagents through which we can grow sales. Support like a free email platform, a TXT message platform, a dashboard with excellent comparative data and easier access to extra stock.

    1 likes

  • 5 Jim // Mar 14, 2014 at 11:36 AM

    Like my other comment just now, I am concerned about the power of the supermarkets and where they are being supported by newsagent suppliers. It is not helping us seeing this happen at Network.

    0 likes

  • 6 subaru // Mar 20, 2014 at 8:08 AM

    slightly off topic, but still related to issues at Network, but is anyone else having trouble reporting today’s shortages on the Netonline website???
    When I click on shortages, the only page I can get to is the Shortage report history page. I cannot report today’s shortages…

    0 likes

  • 7 MAX // Mar 20, 2014 at 10:14 AM

    Subarau,

    I just checked it now and looks like it is working.

    0 likes

  • 8 subaru // Mar 20, 2014 at 12:12 PM

    So it is.

    I hate it when these things make a liar out of me…

    1 likes

  • 9 June // Mar 20, 2014 at 2:55 PM

    off topic but can anyone tell me how to change the Network labels thru xchangeit BACK to how they were before Network
    played around with their new invoicing.
    It is taking me double the time to do the stickers and when I get staff to do it – triple the time because they can’t undo a parcel and find all the labels consecutively on the page for that invoice.
    GG is fine and I have looked at the setup through retailer and they are both set up the same way so it isn’t a retailer problem it is either xchangeit or network or both.
    Anyone know how to fix this as it is most
    frustrating to have a change which is so unhelpful to newsagents.
    It typifies how little we are thought of when changes are made at the distribution level.

    1 likes

  • 10 subaru // Mar 20, 2014 at 4:12 PM

    June,

    I have given up on hoping they will change it back. I even called Xchangeit in the hope that they could help.
    I found a feature that my system can print labels in alphabetical order, so I’m now making use of this feature for Networks invoices only.
    I choose to print GG in the invoice order, and NDC in alphabetical order.

    0 likes

  • 11 Mark Fletcher // Mar 20, 2014 at 4:20 PM

    It’s a permanent change that started rolling out months ago. You can get the old style by selecting later invoices on their website.

    0 likes

  • 12 Steve // Mar 20, 2014 at 4:54 PM

    I received an email from the ANF yesterday which said they were in discussions with Network about the invoice changes and were hoping to get it improved. The bit I liked was that with all the staff changes at Network Tony Edwards and Daniel Keily who are new in their roles had stated they didn’t even know why the changes were made.Brilliant.

    0 likes

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