Australian Newsagency Blog

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

Are newsagents losing magazine sales because disinterest in the category?

Mark Fletcher
April 29th, 2013 · 8 Comments

Below I share a story from a magazine publisher about a recent experience they had.  This story underscores my concern that the treatment of newsagents by magazine distributors is leading to some of us making decisions that hurt our businesses and distance us from the one point of difference we share as a national channel.

Here’s the story:

We had a phone call from a lady last week who wanted to subscribe to our magazine because she couldn’t find a newsagency anywhere in her area that sold it. She stated that her local newsagency used to get it but doesn’t any more (i.e. since IPS began distributing it last October).

I know this publisher and when they get such calls, they always check their IPS allocations list and advise the caller of newsagencies in their area that stock the magazine. This is an excellent and supportive service.  It demonstrates practical support of newsagents

Our title’s presence in newsagencies is very important because we understand that most people do not want to subscribe to magazines.

When we checked the allocations list for our caller last week it showed several newsagencies in her general area that stock and sell the magazine, and she was very happy to be given store names and addresses.

More importantly though, a subsequent check of earlier allocations showed that her local newsagent had received stock, with null sales after we changed to IPS (along with several hundred others) – a clear demonstration that those newsagents would not accept supplies from IPS.

I understand it is every newsagent’s prerogative about who they deal with, but am concerned that those who won’t deal with IPS are effectively sending hundreds of customers who are determined to buy a copy of our magazine to other newsagencies, where they might spend much more than just the cost of our magazine. I wonder what percentage of those “turned away customers” become “thrown away customers” because they change their allegiance to the new newsagency and only shop with them.

Yes, the magazine disribution model is sick, we are oversupplied by Gotch and network and their service of newsagents is poor compared to their service of the majors and, yes, we need to reduce our magazine range. however, we need to make moves on a commercial basis. IPS at least gives us the best tools for doing this.


Category: magazine distribution · magazines

8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 allan wickham // Apr 29, 2013 at 10:38 AM

    I suppose each agent has their reasons for not using IPS but personally I cant understand why they wouldnt.
    They have been really great to deal with over the phone, polite and friendly. We have had a say in our allocations.
    The most impressive thing that stands out for me though is the condition in which we recieve mags from IPS….imacculate. I get a bit frustrated having to return mags because of damage but have never had that problem with IPS. Their packing people and delivery drivers should be commended for the care shown.


  • 2 shauns // Apr 29, 2013 at 10:49 AM

    From what i can gather people don’t seem to want to go with IPS mainly because from the start mags turned up without any contracts set in place , maybe it is low volume mags and not worth the hassle ,While i am not a fan of IPS terms i do understand why they are in place eg no early returns . Only thing i do not like about ips IS Their cut off dates for returns , let it go for 3 weeks and no credit .
    The other main thing i do not liike about IPS is the way they send their statements . You get dizzy on the ipad trying to read it because they put the dam thing side ways and no matter how much you turn that ipad around you end up reading it on your side:)


  • 3 Gregg // Apr 29, 2013 at 4:32 PM

    Mark, yes IPS do give us more control of our allocation and they are a lot better than G&G who from what i can see are run by trained monkeys


  • 4 shauns // Apr 29, 2013 at 4:43 PM

    Gregg ,what evidence do you have to support the claim you are makeing about them being trained ? 🙂


  • 5 h // Apr 29, 2013 at 5:01 PM

    G&G work on algorithms, just like the share market does these days…. no monkeys at all, requiring no training…


  • 6 Gregg // Apr 29, 2013 at 5:07 PM

    Sorry shauns, forgot they no longer employ primates, trained or untrained


  • 7 h // Apr 29, 2013 at 5:28 PM

    In answer to Mark’s question, yes, my neighbouring newsagents are all missing out on the magazines sales that come to my store because I want to be a magazine specialist. I work at it, and I teach my staff how to be intimately involved with “Alt T” in Tower !! People will come back when you take the time to find info for them, put away for them, give them dates and sales history and explain how the warehouse system works, as if they are on a research mission and are not just a cash cow. We sweat blood however these days to earn 25%, and it will not last.


  • 8 Brendan // Apr 29, 2013 at 6:05 PM

    In our experience IPS have been extremely approachable and willing and able to deal with any issues we have brought up with them. An extra week on returns would be great but when it’s all said and done that just takes better controls on our behalf and is more than offset by the ability to set supply levels where we think they should be.


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