Australian Newsagency Blog

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

New Matilda article changes tune on newsagent deregulation

Mark Fletcher
April 21st, 2006 · 2 Comments

When first published Wednesday, Nicholas Gruen In Re-imagining economic reform, published at the New Matilda, wrote that (among other things) that most economists agree that newsagents “still need some old fashioned deregulation “. I emailed Gruen asking him to elaborate on this. He responded with: “Perhaps it would be worthwhile investing some of your own time explaining what claim you are referring to, what your own perspective is (if any and so on). Do you have any idea what I have in mind regarding the suggestion?” I quoted his words back at him and included: “I’d be interested in knowing what old fashioned deregulation newsagents need. Since it’s a published article I consider it reasonable for you to justify the opinion. My perspective does not matter. However, I own a newsagency.” I note that yesterday, the article was changed and the reference to newsagents removed.

There is a misconception in many circles that newsagents are protected. They are not. We were deregulated in 1999. Supermarkets, convenience stores, petrol outlets, coffee shops all get magazines directly from the suppliers. They choose the titles they carry. Most carry the top 100 or so titles. Newsagents don’t have the luxury of controlling what they receive. We know from the recent cash flow study that 65% of magazine titles in newsagencies are cash flow negative. This would not be the case if newsagents could control the titles they received and the quantity. The government deregulation push which was overseen by the ACCC has left the small business channel severely disadvantaged.

Footnote: late last night Nicholas Gruen emailed me saying, in part: “The list was from an article I wrote a few years ago, and I thought it was current. On reviewing the situation, I find to my dismay that there has indeed been considerable deregulation since I last looked! Please accept my sincere apologies for my oversight. I know it can be irritating to read things in the press that are inaccurate and do my best to be accurate and failing that to correct inaccuracies when I become aware of them.”

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Category: Newsagency challenges

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jacqueline Wood // Apr 23, 2006 at 10:28 AM

    When are newsagents going to be able to choose the magazines that their customers would like to see in store!? I am constantly being asked by customers to start a petition in favour of being in a position to stock magazines that customers would like to see such as the larger stores, and being able to stock just those that will sell and not those that won’t sell.

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  • 2 Jacqueline Wood // Apr 23, 2006 at 10:29 AM

    When are newsagents going to be able to choose the magazines that their customers would like to see in store!? I am constantly being asked by customers to start a petition in favour of being in a position to stock magazines that customers would like to see such as the larger stores, and being able to stock just those that will sell and not those that won’t sell.

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