Australian Newsagency Blog

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No form here

Mark Fletcher
November 28th, 2008 · 11 Comments

noform.JPGWe do not have The Form for customers of The Age because our supplier refused to fair terms. He is paid ten cents by Fairfax. Given that we would supply his home delivery customers as well as our retail customers and provide premium space for the product we considered that the ten cents should be fully passed on. Rather than any negotiation, we have no stock. This is a challenge for newspaper publishers who want a retail presence but rely on distribution businesses to negotiate on their behalf.

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Category: Newspapers

11 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jarryd Moore // Nov 28, 2008 at 2:25 PM

    In NSW the home delivery customers can elect to have The Form delivered with the main publication. Is that not the case in VIC?

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  • 2 Dean // Nov 28, 2008 at 4:22 PM

    I am a distribution agent, with only a small retail presence. While I can sympathise with your view Mark, and would probably argue the same if I was a sub-agent, from my persepctive distribution agents do a lot of unpaid work for sub-agents, eg deliver free DVD’s. As I have 40 sub-agents (soon to become 55), this can take several hours to prepare and deliver. This is time out of my business which could be better spent elsewhere, especially when many of the promotions do not increase sales, only the amount of work required to generate them. I am sure that you would complain if your newsagent didn’t give you a free DVD that went with the weekend paper, but would not be prepared to pay the newsagent’s costs in distributing them to you. For the sake of a few dollars, I don’t think it is worth arguing about, especially when we incur costs to transport it too.

    I think a better solution is either for The Age to dump it completely and try and promote All Form (which we actually get something for as it sells for $2), or put it in the paper like any other section.

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  • 3 sa_paperboy // Nov 28, 2008 at 4:35 PM

    Dean’s being nice, its pretty insulting to suggest the agent give up his whole fee. Would you tell your magazine freight companies and distribution workers that they should give you all their payments too?

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  • 4 Dean (different one to above) // Nov 28, 2008 at 4:37 PM

    Forgive my ignorance but what exactly is the Age’s rationale behind not supplying the form in every paper anyway? Is it purely only a cost cutting exercise? Whatever it is it’s downright ridiculous if you ask me.

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  • 5 Mark // Nov 28, 2008 at 4:43 PM

    Dean and sa, please read the post. There was no negotiation. This was my key point. From the first week, for which we received nothing, we handled handing this out for home delivery customers not served by us – we need to check that they are home delivery customers, taking time at the counter. For nothing.

    Mark

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  • 6 sa_paperboy // Nov 28, 2008 at 4:49 PM

    Well its all about being a partnership, we certainly don’t expect our sub-agents to do something for nothing. He probably got the shits though when you demanded the whole fee, come on thats a nice slap in the face.

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  • 7 Dean // Nov 28, 2008 at 5:36 PM

    From my perspective, there are things that we do in business with no compensation, just to ensure that we keep the customer coming back to our shop. Whether we like it or not that is part of retail. If it takes you 1 minute to serve the customer then the 10 cents won’t even cover your wages for that minute. You just have to hope that the customer buys something else while they are there, or at least pays their paper bill to you, which I assume you receive a commission for.

    In the case you described, I would not have agreed to pay any of the fee to you either. The fee I receive from The Age does not really cover my costs, why would I pass any of it on. I would have offered you a choice though – either you have it and have a reason for customers to come to your shop, or you don’t and one of your competitors gets it instead.

    I have just read my email. and it looks liek that customers now have a choice to have the Form delivered for a 20c fee. It will cost me this to deliver it. Again, that means that I am doing something for nothing.

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  • 8 sa_paperboy // Nov 28, 2008 at 5:54 PM

    Can someone please explain exactly how it works, I don’t think we have anything analagous here. This is a free additional supplement to the Age on fridays that home delivery customers can come into the store and claim? I would be inclined to tell the sub-agents to not spend the time chasing up the validity of their home delivery claim and just give the thing away. Its Fairfax’s problem if they don’t want to implement a better system. Putting a redeemable token in the paper seems the better option.

    Obviously they are trying to save on print costs by offering a specialist insert and not including it in the full run which is an interesting idea but the implementation at the moment seems poorly thought out. Its not really fair to blame the agent for that.

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  • 9 Mark // Nov 28, 2008 at 6:20 PM

    sa, They have taken The Form out of The Age and made it separate. They have asked home delivery customers to go to retail newsagencies to collect. They have asked retail newsagents to provide a place at the newspaper display to display The Form separately and to offer this to customers. This is pretty much what happened in NSW a year ago. Mark

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  • 10 andy // Nov 28, 2008 at 8:13 PM

    Mark am i understaning that now we as full newsagents are being told by suppliers as well as subagents what to do? along with mag companies direct supply to subagents and oversupply how long can the industry last? cheers andy

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  • 11 Andrew // Nov 29, 2008 at 12:35 AM

    It was great fun this morning putting both The Form and Melbourne Magazine in The Age and then wrapping the papers. Took me about 30 minutes and 1 hot wire.

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