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

Newspapers, the supply chain and respect for the masthead

I’ve heard publishers bemoan the lack of respect and effort their products receive from newsagents and others in the supply chain. They argue that newspapers generate the most traffic yet receive the least attention. They wonder what happened from the halcyon days of newspapers (any time up to the late 1970s).

Besides that society has changed (television, mobile phones, working hours, recreation opportunities), newspapers are not what they used to be.

Until recently the news was the thing. Today news, in many newspapers, news has taken a back seat and there are consequences for that. Getting the retail and distribution channel to promote puzzles, games, CDs and all manner on non news devices to boost sales may give the circulation kicks necessary to achieve poor audit results however I doubt that these tricks create loyal customers.

Newspaper customer loyalty is rooted is trust for the masthead and this is earned through coverage. That does not mean high brow. It means news. The tabloids could be more about news than trying to run the political agenda or paying for gossip stories. Sometimes newspapers offer a consisted and strong news story from their front page but not often enough.

All it takes is one publisher to lift the ante, declare a puzzle and competition free zone and focus on creating much better content value. The supply chain should respond with more effort as a result of greater respect and this should result in sales.

Okay, that’s fairy land and the current market forces dictate how publishers react.

My point is that by pursuing all these non news strategies publishers are inviting their supply chain to be equally confused in their representation of newspaper product.

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