Australian Newsagency Blog

A blog on issues affecting Australia's newsagents, media and small business generally.

Distribution newsagents miss out on News Corp cover price increase

Mark Fletcher
March 14th, 2014 · 21 Comments

Distribution newsagents are voicing frustration that the price increases for News Corp. newspaper titles are not resulting in an increase in the fees they are paid.

While News Corp will say they addressed this in their restructuring of fees last year, any reasonable assessment will challenge this. Last year’s fee increases did not catch up with the cost increases newsagents have absorbed in recent years.

Ater the increase in 2013, distribution newsagents were still worse off in real terms than a year earlier.

As long term SA newsagent John Fitzpatrick noted yesterday:

The retail price of the Saturday paper has jumped from $2.00 to $2.50 the extra commission to Distribution Newsagents on copies supplied to retail outlets = ZERO, Subagents receive an additional 0.0625 per copy BUT nothing for the Distribution Newsagent!

Granted, we will receive the .0625 cents on Home Delivered copies – BUT NOT all copies – Cafe’s, Hotel’s, NIE Packages, TAB and many more will be at a reduced rate.

There are never ending costs in Subagent delivery, especially in SA where current weekend publishing times have been very late.

It seems News doesn’t value the work involved in Subagent Distribution.

News will need to work urgently on the current model if it wishes to retain all existing distribution newsagents. And right there is the question many newsagents are asking.


Category: Newspaper distribution · newspaper home delivery

21 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Peter // Mar 14, 2014 at 9:42 AM

    Put Tower in to this frustration as well.

    I have been informed by your help area that “Stock Maintenance / Price Changes , select stock and date to take effect” has being disabled and no longer works. This I was told was due to, to many calls to the help are when people used in the past.

    The advice in your knowledge base is wrong and as i said a heap of shit in the comments area about it and I reiterate that fact.

    I am a distribution and retail agent in southern country NSW. Where this price change facility would have the issue for me i NOW HAVE TO ADOPT THE FOLLOWING PROCEDURES which totally changes how I would normally do things and does create a lot extra work.


    1. Close Business for the Day
    2. Do Customer Billing for the WE Sunday
    3. Update System for Changes with Sun Herald and Daily Telegraph
    3. Update News Corp Delivery Fees
    4. Generate Sub Agent Orders
    5. Import Magazines


    Open And Trade at New Price for Both Papers

    1. Collect and enter Sub Agent returns
    2. Adjust Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun back to the old prices
    3. Do Sub Agent Billing
    4. Readjust DT and Sun back to new Prices.
    5. Keep Track manually of all DTs and Suns sold between 2 and 4 manually collect the money and ring up after ste4.

    This was the procedure advise by the Help area.

    When one considers what have been disabled and the lack of advice on it I the Frustration I have at present with Tower is considerabe.

    By the Way I agree Totally with your comments about News Corp but please also include Tower in the Frustration.

    I could not establish with Tower whether any of this will mean Changes in “Customers Select a Sub Agent, Orders, Select Standing Order, Find Standing Order, Discount Profile like the Changes in the SMH did. I do not believe so, however advise on this would be nice.


  • 2 Mark Fletcher // Mar 14, 2014 at 10:21 AM

    Peter, this is a newsagency blog and not a Tower Systems blog. Yes I own Tower but I’m not going to engage with you on this here other than to say you have published here wrong information.

    Tower has a process in place for handling the price changes that its 1,900+ newsagent customers will find works a treat for these latest changes.

    BTW nothing has been disabled.


  • 3 Peter // Mar 14, 2014 at 11:11 AM

    you had the opportunity to placate an angry customer and fix this issue. Instead you have chosen to attack rather than fix the problem.

    You set this issue up for Public discussion and attacked me for my comments which is all related to the price increase. This is an unmoderated blogg and that is part of the attraction. However, you must be prepared deal sensibly with issues like this when they arise rather that attacking. If you did this this you may have been able to turn a negative into a positive.

    This was escalated to the Manager of the Help area and I have written what I was told to do. Now you are saying this advice is wrong. What is the correct advice.

    Once again I will leave to you to placate an angry and turn a negative into a postive.


  • 4 Mark Fletcher // Mar 14, 2014 at 11:18 AM

    Peter, here I’m blogging on all sorts of issues. If you have an issue with Tower then there is a process there for you to use that you have not used.

    The positive comment I’d make is that many newsagents are happily handling the price changes using the documented processes.

    It’s your choice to be angry. I’m not angry.

    BTW I’ve not attacked you.


  • 5 David @ Angle Vale Newsagency // Mar 14, 2014 at 12:22 PM

    Well, I’ve just used it for The Advertiser and seems to work fine for me, although I am not a distribution agent. AFAIK my prices will auto change Monday


  • 6 Dean // Mar 14, 2014 at 12:36 PM


    We have major issues with price changes for magazines. We always charge customers the new price when doing subagent and customer billing (assuming we have imported the new edition with the new price from XChangeit prior to doing the billing). As we don’t usually know about the price change as we are distribution only, this is a major issue and causes a fair amount of work to correct. Tower’s advice to me was this is how our system works. They did mention that their development team were working on a change to their system to fix this, so hopefully at some stage we won’t have this problem anymore.

    We don’t have problems with price changes for papers as you descibed.

    It seems different newsagents have different bugs in their system.


  • 7 Dean // Mar 14, 2014 at 12:47 PM


    Commenting on the original post about distribution newsagents getting screwed by News Corp, are you aware that in certain circumstances we will be paid less for home deliveries under the new fee structure than the old structure.

    If you currently home deliver less than 5 papers per week you will receive a lower delivery fee than you do currently, by up to $0.10 per week.

    This will be partly offset by the price rise where we get an extra $0.0125 per weekday Herald Sun.


  • 8 Mark Fletcher // Mar 14, 2014 at 12:54 PM

    Dean just discovered this anomaly. I think it needs to be formally challenged.


  • 9 Mark // Mar 14, 2014 at 6:30 PM

    Peter why not stick to the topic ! this particular blog is a very important issue for many Newsagents.

    News Ltd have effectively reduced our margin here in SA ,but the important thing to note is although
    News Ltd has cut the distributors margin, they are still expecting us to pass on the full fee/12.5% to our sub agents.

    Posting your issues with Tower on here in a public forum is weak and poor form .

    Far better for you to email Mark directly


  • 10 rick // Mar 14, 2014 at 10:04 PM

    We have only one subscription customer, so I charge more than what news says I should for delivery fees, I will do the same with my sub agents, I will maintain my margins, If news don’t like it they can take over my run. Peter, no need to take cheap shots on here, talk to mark directly and I’m sure your issues will be resolved.


  • 11 ted // Mar 15, 2014 at 9:39 AM

    This thread got hijacked briefly but it raised an interesting topic. What subjects are off limits here? Mark argues that there are alternative processes in place to deal with Tower related issues… but you could argue the same for many topics highlighted in this blog yet it doesn’t stop posts being published that are critical of suppliers, associations, publishers etc. Shouldn’t the test be…if it relates to newsagents, it’s fair game?


  • 12 Mark Fletcher // Mar 15, 2014 at 9:58 AM

    Ted, while it frustrates me to see a post stray off topic, it happens and I have no control over it. Such is the case with unmoderated blog comments.

    I regularly do remind people here to take complaints to the party that can assist. hence my comments earlier in this thread. There are some who prefer to make a noise rather than knock on the door to speak with someone who can actually help them.

    I have been sued twice by newsagent suppliers because of information published here including comments by others. One case is currently awaiting judgement. I mention this to indicate that many people read this place. Some get aggrieved when people hide behind anonymity to – what they think – unfairly complain.

    There is a cohort of newsagents who prefer to complain out of anger that stems from frustration with their own businesses. It’s not a big cohort but it exists nevertheless. This also fuels some comments here.

    We are all responsible for our own situation. We all have avenues we can use to complain about things.


  • 13 John Fitzpatrick // Mar 15, 2014 at 2:33 PM


    This thread has gone off topic.

    If a Newsagent has difficulty in applying price rises , they should refer the issue to Business system support people they use.

    Now that this issue has been raised – where is the ANF. In SA we have not heard a word.

    News have been on a massive cost cutting journey, in SA we are paying the price for this through very late deliveries – especially Saturday and Sunday.

    Many newsagent’s will be forced to review services to Subagents without a quick review by News.
    The simple equation:
    Increase .50 cents (on Saturday in SA)
    News Ltd share 0.4375
    Subs share 0.625
    Distributor share 0.00

    All business’s must make a profit to continue supply and service (including News) – where income falls either the business model fails or service drops off – leading to business failure.

    News have promised a Delivery Fee review in future – date to be advised.

    Many newspapers delivered to Cafe’s, School’s, Hotels etc, are down to a 6% margin.



  • 14 Mark Fletcher // Mar 15, 2014 at 3:16 PM

    John the tragedy is that it’s been well over a year since we moved to a national pricing model yet there appears no national ownership of the issues from those representing newsagents.


  • 15 Dean // Mar 16, 2014 at 9:02 AM


    Mu understanding is the annual delivery fee review occurs in March / April, with the delivery fee changes and price increase starting tomorrow being this year’s review.

    The problem is the income we make from distributing papers is going down every year, and the costs go up.I believe they should be paying us 60-80c more per paper per week, with annual commission increases of 5%.

    We probably should put on someone extra on Saturday as currently we are not coping with the volume on the existing staff structure. However I refuse to pay the extra wage.

    Over the last few years we have cut staff numbers – 1 driver last July weekdays only when someone quit, and another driver November the year before weekdays only when someone quit, as well as 2-3 drivers 7 days a week when Kevin Rudd / Julia Gillard’s fair work came in.

    We have now started to investigate opportunites so we can make the decision at some stage to dump paper deliveries. Unfortunately we can’t do that now as we are distribution only.


  • 16 jenny // Mar 16, 2014 at 10:20 AM

    9-10 am Sunday morning, a few phone calls, all sorted 99% customers are fine, but there is always one that makes you wish you never have to deliver another newspaper ever again.
    And that one isn’t necessarily rude or obnoxious, just plain irritating.
    One customer who lives in the worst street in town where someone would go onto their property to steal a paper. I want to hide when I see him coming into my shop but I have to listen to his rant.
    I know word for word what he is going to say.
    I would like to meet the paper stealing robber and tell him I will give him a free paper just so I don’t have to listen to the customer ever again!


  • 17 subaru // Mar 16, 2014 at 10:47 AM


    When we used to deliver newspapers, we had a policy:
    If the paper was missing/stolen a few times, we told the customer that we would hold the paper in store as a putaway, and they had to come and collect it themselves. If they didn’t like this, the delivery was cancelled.

    It’s not his fault it gets stolen, but it’s not your fault either.

    It was the only way to guarantee the customer received their paper.

    This kept most people happy, although it doens’t sound like it will keep YOUR customer happy.

    I did have one customer who’s paper was getting stolen, but they didn’t get up until about 11am, so the paper sat on their front lawn from 3am til 11am. They were just asking for trouble leaving it there that long.


  • 18 Gregg // Mar 16, 2014 at 11:50 AM

    Jenny, we have one customer like you mentioned who would regularly ring and complain he did not get his paper. He always rang after 10am and each time I found his paper, after the many visits to redeliver the paper which I always found I told him

    1 you must ring before 8am

    2 if I find your paper on your property I will now charge you for my time.

    3 if it continues we will cancel the subscription.

    Amazing we have never had a problem in the last 2 years with this customer.


  • 19 John Fitzpatrick // Mar 16, 2014 at 8:08 PM


    Over the years (25 plus) I have stopped most regular newspaper thefts. I think my most innovative was placing dried dog pooh in a rolled newspaper – with the cooperation of the reader and just like magic the problem stopped – but I’m told the guy opened his stolen paper on the train to work … dog pooh everywhere – justice at last!

    I’ve never given up chasing stolen newspapers and never will. There is always a way to get the scumbag.



  • 20 Gary // Mar 16, 2014 at 11:22 PM

    We need a new topic to share ideas for dealing with paper thefts. I imagine its a issue with most distribution agents.


  • 21 Mark Fletcher // Mar 17, 2014 at 6:23 AM

    I’ll set one up Gary.


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