Australian Newsagency Blog

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Bauer and Coles offers magazines at half price

Mark Fletcher
January 30th, 2015 · 15 Comments

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 8.12.21 pmColes is offering ZOO, OK!, Woman’s Day & NW for half price with any fuel purchase. These are all Bauer Media titles. The promotion is in the Coles Express catalogue.

This is Coles and Bauer Media banding driving sales for Coles and potentially reducing traffic flow of the newsagency channel. Thanks for that Bauer.

While you could say newsagents have to do better – Bauer is not being fair, not giving us deals like this.

It’s like Bauer wants Coles to grow magazine sales. But at what cost?

Magazine publishers who rely on newsagents and who have their titles distributed through the Bauer owner Network Services ought to say/ask What the F$&k Bauer? Why are you devaluing your titles? Why are you making newsagents look expensive? Why give Coles such a good deal when we sell more of your magazines?

There is unhappy irony that this deal is being promoted while NSW newsagents have been lobbying re the possibility of Tatts selling lottery products in Coles Express outlets and supermarkets. This offer which favours Coles over newsagents has the potential to do more damage yet I am not aware of it being pursued.

I am not suggesting there should be any protection of newsagents on this – only that we are given the opportunity of equivalent deals. Otherwise, shame on Bauer for making us look bad and this supermarket giant look good.

What does it say that Bauer and Coles have to cut the cover price of magazines by 50% to sell them. Coles would say it’s about deals for customers. I think that would be a stretch.

What do others think about this?

Footnote: I am grateful to the colleague who drew this offer to my attention.


Category: Ethics · magazines · Newsagency challenges · Newsagency management

15 responses so far ↓

  • 1 ed // Jan 30, 2015 at 9:38 PM

    This is the same reason why many newsagents should voice their distain against the big 2 about selling lotto. It’s about big business manipulating against newsagents to say we are expensive when all we are doing is following the recommended retail price set by them. And what are the Acc going to do about it f#$ all.
    This is the first time I’ve herd you lose it Mark. but I could say newsagents need protection and the public agree. 80/20 “telegrath poll” last week.


  • 2 Mark Fletcher // Jan 30, 2015 at 9:45 PM

    Maybe you’re not reading everything I write here ‘ed’. If this is what you call ‘losing it’ I’ve ‘lost it’ many times.

    This post is not about protection, it is about fairness. It is also about selfishness by Bauer chasing audited sales but at what cost to the overall channel.

    BTW Protection will not help newsagents.


  • 3 Richard // Jan 31, 2015 at 8:33 AM

    What is fair these days? What about all the newspaper deals to keep the circulation up. Lets increase the price and hope the pulling power of Disney diverts attention. Must be an audit period.


  • 4 Chris // Jan 31, 2015 at 10:01 AM

    Bauer are crazy for doing this. Why would you actively devalue your own product? Ok guys, here’s my product which I sell for $4.20 but really I only think it is worth $2.10. Why would you pay full price again? Bauer and Coles are training the general public to think that full price magazines are overpriced. This is an issue in the long term and shows a real lack of leadership and vision at Bauer. Or a lack of guts to stand up to Coles. It would not surprise me if Coles dictate to Bauer like they do to all their suppliers.
    Bauer needs to be transparent to all their retailers about what promotions are being run in different markets.


  • 5 Mark Fletcher // Jan 31, 2015 at 10:07 AM

    Chris, unfortunately it is in line with their discount packs where they actively sell two and three magazines together for a considerable discount. These are seen in newsagencies but more often seen in supermarkets and petrol / convenience outlets.

    I agree: crazy!


  • 6 Chris // Jan 31, 2015 at 10:15 AM

    You are right Mark and that is why the bundle offers are always early returned in my shop.


  • 7 Steve // Jan 31, 2015 at 11:56 AM

    And meanwhile in the west the price of Womans Day has been raised to $4.40 for 8 weeks “as a trial”. Not only that they changed the title code so put aways don’t get picked up.Brilliant.


  • 8 Dennis Robertson // Jan 31, 2015 at 12:47 PM

    “Why give Coles such a good deal when we sell more of your magazines?”

    Possible answers or combination thereof, all just a personal opinion of mine. I’ve been wrong on at least one occasion in the past. 🙂

    1. The master slave relationship is already in place between Coles/Bauer and Bauer have no choice in it. (agree with suggestion of Chris@post4)

    2. Bauer believes that because of the meek/passive Newsagency channel, there will be no adverse business consequence in telling consumers that Newsagencies are a place to avoid if you want to save some money.

    All this would be denied by Bauer if Industry Associations ever asked the question, Associations would then duly note the response from Bauer and life will continue, safe in the belief that nothing has changed. The irony is, of course, that nothing has changed……….

    3. Purely a good business decision due to a good deal put to them by Coles. Some sort of sponsorship thing.

    4. They believe other publishers are not prepared to take a risk in business life(small risk in my opinion) and move to another distributor despite it being obvious Publishers will cop more of the same. Despite the potential for an improved situation if a certain Supplier engages in a meaningful manner with the Newsagency channel.

    The last sentence may be a bit too recent to list as a possible answer, but it may be a point some Publishers are interested in if they have read this thread…

    In my opinion, this is the thin edge of the Coles wedge. Complete control of weekly magazines may eventually go to them/duopoly. It will be a drip-fed process that perhaps even Bauer may not be aware of until it’s too late.

    All of the above is just pure conjecture/opinion.

    Mark is not suggesting that Newsagents should get any protection from this; likewise I don’t think Bauer should be given any protection, by any Newsagent, Publisher or Association, from the consequences of certain business decisions.


  • 9 Mark Fletcher // Jan 31, 2015 at 2:10 PM

    Steve, while the trial sounds interesting, the execution sounds appalling. More poor consultation by Bauer.

    Dennis, I particularly like your last par. I think the move is reflective of where Bauer thinks their future lies.


  • 10 Steve // Jan 31, 2015 at 3:10 PM

    Mark, this week is the second week of this trial. When the “WA version” first turned up there had been no communication, I just assumed it was a normal price rise.Several days later Bauer got around to sending an email explaining its a trial for 8 weeks. They didn’t explain what the trial is for but I’d say their assessing the impact on sales of a 20c price rise. Though the cynic in me wonders whether 8 weeks of WA paying 20c extra compensates for 2 weeks of half price mags in coles express.


  • 11 Mark Fletcher // Jan 31, 2015 at 3:57 PM

    Talk about dumb Steve. They are supposed to lease with the software companies to align advice to help newsagents with consistent implementation.

    I like your reasoning for the rise but I doubt that’s it. If it is … wow!


  • 12 June // Feb 2, 2015 at 12:00 PM

    last week I returned more than 50% of NI and WD (still got the same amount) but now that I have read this blog I am wondering if my Coles (couple of doors away) had a “special” on the weeklies or
    whether or not it was just the long weekend and the normal Monday people picked their mags up elsewhere as our shopping centre was closed!
    Anyone else notice that?
    BTW got extra Donna Hay this morning (5 copies) of the current issue when I still had 6 on the shelf – straight into returns so that there is no problem with returning the stock with two dates and maybe asking for 6 of the mags that we only got 5 of. The little idiosyncrasies of the pos system picks up both copies but staff don’t always understand the ramifications of returning 1 copy more and having all copies refused.


  • 13 Mark Fletcher // Feb 2, 2015 at 4:38 PM

    June we notice the opposite on long weekends as we are open.


  • 14 Amanda // Feb 25, 2015 at 8:25 AM

    i was sent an email this morning with a promotion for Vogue Living subscription of $2 a month home delivered from Our Deal. I cannot recall the RRP on this magazine, but thats a hell of a lot better than 25% commission!


  • 15 Mark Fletcher // Feb 25, 2015 at 9:58 AM

    Amanda that sounds like a massive and desperate discount.


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