Australian Newsagency Blog

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

Newspaper flat wrap home delivery trial

Mark Fletcher
March 31st, 2006 · 8 Comments

I was fortunate to see a presentation from Simon Coulter, a newsagent in Queensland, on the trial he has been participating in with News Ltd in the delivery of flat wrapped newspapers. Simon was speaking last week at the Queensland Newsagents Federation state conference. Simon has declared flat wrap a success and he’s sticking with the $15,000 flat wrap machine to prepare newspapers for his home delivery customers.

Simon compared the flat wrap machine to a half fold machine and the more traditional tightly rolled machine. The flat product, while slower to deliver, resulted is considerably superior consumer experience. The newspaper is delivered to the home as good as it was coming off the press.

The key issue is one of cost. Flat wrap is more expensive in terms of equipment needed and the labour required at various points along the way. The current newspaper home delivery fee structure controlled by the publishers does not provide enough for most newsagents to make money with the lower cost rolled model let alone coping with the higher costs of the flat wrap model. If the fee structure can be addressed consumers cold be closer to flat wrap newspapers arriving on their front lawn.

I’m glad that News Ltd has facilitated this trial. It’s now time for action of the delivery fee structure so that newsagents with larger deliver areas can make the move to a flat wrap model if they choose. It is anachronistic that publishers control the delivery fee newsagents are able to charge and that this fee is set at the state level.

The big questions about flat wrap home delivery of newspapers are:

Who owns the delivery package? Will newspaper publishers allow newsagents to deliver other items in the bag?

Where will flat wrap paper have to be delivered? Will the driveway or just inside the property be acceptable? Or, will a doorstop delivery be required?

Will newsagents be allowed to have overprinting on the bag?

Will newsagents be allowed to deliver more than one newspaper per package?

Will newsagents be allowed by newspaper publishers to charge more for the service?

I like flat wrap delivery of newspapers. As long as the rolled product is delivered I will not get my papers home delivered. As soon as my local newsagent bring flat wrap in I’m happy to sign up. To me, it’s all about the consumer experience.

Publishers ought to allow newsagents to generate additional revenue and to charge a premium fee and reward newsagents based on sales growth. The right commercial levers will see flat wrap as a success story in suburban situations where it’s use is most appropriate.

Will flat wrap sell more newspapers? I doubt it. However, it improves enjoyment for consumers and this will stem sales losses and facilitate switching casual purchase to home delivery.

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Category: Newsagency challenges

8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Hermes // May 2, 2006 at 4:20 PM

    I do not not whether flat wrap will sell more papers.
    But I do know that in Sweden we have an internet forum for professional newspaper deliverers (paper boys). Only here the work is done in the early morning hours so many of us can manage another job in daytime. We are looking for international colleagues and so I stumbled over this site. You are exquisitely welcome to post a message at our forum! Probably You will have to sign in as a member but as web design is also internationally common, I think you can manage!

    See You!
    Hermes

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  • 2 Hermes // May 2, 2006 at 4:25 PM

    The sign in page for the Swedish newspaper deliverers’ forum can be found here:http://nicklase.se/index.php?action=register
    The only thing that needs to be translated is the word “användarnamn”; it simply means User name or alias!
    Hermes

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  • 3 Mike // May 25, 2010 at 9:38 AM

    I am a newspaper delivery driver in Brisbane.There is absolutely no way that a throw can be as accurate with a flatwrap as what it can be with a roll. I happily throw a paper at peoples front doors from across the street. The run in my own neighboorhood recently went flat wrap and I see the underpaid drivers getting out of the vehicle where I would have been able to nail a throw near thier front door from the vehicle. The poor attitude is even reflected in one of the questions forflat wrap above. “Will the driveway or just inside the property be acceptable?” This question clearly does not have the customer in mind. Rools a far superior but I suppose Simon does happen to sell flatwrap machines.

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  • 4 FRUSTRATED // Dec 1, 2010 at 9:09 PM

    I deliver newspapers in the Brisbane areas and frequently see the remains on FLATWRAP PAPERS lying on the footpaths and even on the roads, frequently in pieces as the bag has broken and the paper is strewn all over the place.
    I have thrown rolled papers, 1/3 folded and 1/4 folded papers and find that the larger the item the harder it is to obtain accuracy and distance. The other thing to bear in mind is the size of the paper (that is how many pages) If you have a light paper, say 48 pages, it is extremely difficult to throw this with distance and accuracy combined from a moving vehicle and if there happens to be even a slight wind it becomes even more difficult.
    On the question of price to home deliver, nobody but the delivery contractor knows better the costs involved and the publishers/distribution departments need to look closely at what it costs the contractors in terms on fuel, maintenance, repairs and the time the contractor actually puts in, you work it out, an average of 2500Kms a week at an average speed of around 30K/Hour while delivering.

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  • 5 Am // Oct 11, 2011 at 3:17 PM

    Hi, im a paperboy as well (me and my husband has to roll 400 newspapers and throw them, and I am looking for a flatwrap machine not exactly but one this is rotational so it rotates the newspaper (flatwrapped papers are hard to deliver and now way id pay 15,000 for a machine)
    I am looking for a newspaper rotational feeder I am happy to pay with my own money so im looking to spend just a few hundred dollars, does anyone know of a product that works as a newspaper roller? If someone could find it would really make my husband and i’s work a lot easier, at the moment we spend tues night wed night rolling newspapers as they all have to be delivered by thursday, we miss out on family time but we like to continue the work and the community appeal. If i cannot find a machine that will automate the process, im afraid il have to give up being a deliver paper thrower girl/boy. Thanks.

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  • 6 kevin // Oct 11, 2011 at 7:00 PM

    Does anyone know who is the manufacturer of the roll plastic distributed by Wrap ‘n Roll (Victoria).

    We’ve been getting batch after batch of appalling quality material.

    Apparently it is “under” cured. It doesn’t stick and it’s costing us a fortune in re wrapping and / or re delivery.

    We want to take action directly with the manufacturer because we don’t have the time or space to cure it ourselves.

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  • 7 john o'neill // Jul 3, 2012 at 9:59 AM

    BAD FORM GUYS! for personal reasons i cant take your free trial yet it appears impossible to advise of this either over phone or web!! a better way was to have people advise IF they wanted to participate. the way you are doing it could well be illegal!!!

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  • 8 Rob // Jun 2, 2014 at 9:55 PM

    Simon Coulter has a reputation for disappearing with deposits, being uncontactable, not providing any back up service and has gone broke a number of times. Be very wary of dealing with any of his reincarnations ie flatwrap distribution, flatwrap newspapers, MMPD etc

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