Australian Newsagency Blog

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

News Corp. are undercutting newsagents, again

Mark Fletcher
October 29th, 2016 · 13 Comments

IGA supermarkets say support local businesses. Then, they team up with News Corp to give away newspapers, undercutting local small business newsagents.

News Corp. says it supports and respects newsagents. Then, they team with IGA and other supermarket chains to educate people to stop buying newspapers at newsagents and, instead, but from supermarkets. Thanks News Corp.

Here is a one sent to some newsagents in Queensland about the latest campaign.

Screen Shot 2016-10-29 at 9.34.26 AM

If their actions are true to form, associations representing newsagents will ignore this issue. Me? I care more about newsagents than offending News. This is an offensive campaign from News Corp. It demonstrates actions as not matching words. It is, in my opinion, socially irresponsible.


Category: Ethics · Newspaper marketing · Newspapers · Social responsibility

13 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Judy // Oct 29, 2016 at 9:52 AM

    thanks for the ‘heads-up’.


  • 2 Colin // Oct 29, 2016 at 10:10 AM

    Marketing groups exist to leverage advantage for their members. IGA spends big with Newscorp. I get special discounts from some suppliers. Don’t have an issue with this, it’s normal.


  • 3 Henry Henderson // Oct 29, 2016 at 11:45 AM

    Hi Colin, I think what you say is valid; however, I think – but, don’t know – that the structure of IGA is such that it is legally a single entity. If so, they would be empowered to say, “Well if we can’t agree, we won’t take papers at all”.
    My understanding is that Newsagents have individual contracts and even if they form groups or any kind of association, they cannot act as one without the agreement of the ACCC; consequently, they have no bargaining power in negotiations with suppliers of goods essential to their businesses; because, a single newsagent deciding to quit papers doesn’t matter a bit.
    This is why those who represent newsagents go to the bargaining table empty-handed except for a wish list. And why publishers go having assessed the least they can concede without losing cheap selling and distribution utilities.
    I think the root of newsagents anger is that they that News gets a lot out of a special relationship and they are not reciprocating in the way newagents have a right to presume they would.


  • 4 David@anglevalenews // Oct 29, 2016 at 1:40 PM

    I have an IGA/Foodland next door and for 2 years they would give away papers a week at a time, then I would get a turn (via Newspower). They could give while I had to wait until the paper away from the time they opened at 0700 while I had to wait until 1400.

    I argued, I discussed with the News Ltd rep, I posted here and on the Newspower blog and got a big stick waved by News Corp. But it seems I got through, and no doubt some other Newspower members got on their case. All I wanted was a level playing field, and that is what I now have.

    We both get to giveaway papers on alternate weeks, and we both are restricted to a 1400 start.

    Newspapers ARE dying and by 1400 it is worthless to almost anyone except an owner of a new puppy. I reckon it would make sense to have them all given away after say 1600 any day. No need for returns, recycling, etc.


  • 5 Mark Fletcher // Oct 29, 2016 at 3:58 PM

    This promotion is about changing shopper behaviour. That will hurt newsagents. The time the majority will complain is after the change in retailer of choice has occurred.

    Shame on News for their engagement in this campaign. It demonstrates how little they value their product.


  • 6 Neil // Oct 30, 2016 at 9:24 AM

    You shit-canned Rewadl (which was actually a program to get insight into the huge data black hole that is single copy sales to improve the customer experience and identify ways to improve circ and revenue)

    The retail promos are too much hard work because of a coupon (and you won’t bother pushing a plan to change that)

    Not increasing supply to cover for promos is a common complaint. They communicated ahead of time about increased supply and you still rip into the activity.

    I’d be dealing with Supermarkets more too…


  • 7 Mark Fletcher // Oct 30, 2016 at 9:32 AM

    Neil the facts are different to your claims.

    1. I criticised reward because of the prime counter space it takes, the inadequate data it collects and the friction in the sales process.

    2. There is no data black hole. Through the Tower community of 1,800+ newsagents there is access to excellent data on newspapers and other products in the basket.

    3. I have invested more time and money in agitating for better and easier management of promotions than any newsagent or association.

    If you refer supermarkets why do you spend so much time here?


  • 8 Jim // Oct 30, 2016 at 9:54 AM

    Supermarket Groups are easier for publishers to deal with, as they are well placed to collectively market these promotions and to provide clean, seamless data that separates a standard retail newspaper transaction from a promoted transaction. This enables the publisher to report on sales correctly and to charge the correct rate on all papers.

    If newsagent buying groups or Tower users were collectively able to deliver this same level of data and service to News Corp, they would undoubtedly look to run these promotions through newsagents. It could be done no doubt, but not with the same consistency or levels of compliance.

    Irrespective of this, yes- these promotions still devalue their product; despite most transactions occurring outside of traditional newspaper selling hours.


  • 9 Mark Fletcher // Oct 30, 2016 at 10:26 AM

    James, the same level of data is available from newsagents. The biggest challenge is with consistent in-store execution.

    I think News wants more papers to be sold where they have a single account relationship.


  • 10 Neil // Oct 30, 2016 at 11:19 AM


    1. It’s a tablet. Mount it on a bench, brand it to suit your space. It’s as friction-less as it can ever be given it needs to fit into a whole range of spaces and industries.

    2. Rewardle doesn’t gather basket data. It gives you a way to link purchases at different retailers to a customer – that data is invaluable in informing where to focus CxP and marketing activity

    3. I don’t doubt that for a second…

    I keep coming back for a few reasons. The blog is on a topic I know a fair bit about, I would rather give my 2c worth on what drives people like me away from newsagencies to the majors, and some posts I just can’t help but tell the other side story.


  • 11 Jim // Oct 30, 2016 at 11:19 AM

    Easier when there is one invoice.


  • 12 Mark Fletcher // Oct 30, 2016 at 11:40 AM


    1. It takes valuable space for micro margin product. You can’t brand it sufficiently. Publishers have access to far better data from newsagency software.

    2. Yes, what it gathers is a waste. I prefer to run a loyalty program that supports my business.

    3. So stop going on about it.

    The other side of the story is that there are newsagents growing their businesses, achieving an increase in traffic and revenue but more important this there are newsagents achieving a fundamental shift in GP by being retailers and not agents.


  • 13 Amanda // Nov 1, 2016 at 11:04 PM

    Neil the scan data collected by newsagency software companies (both Tower and POS Solutions) is far superior or to that found in the Metcash owned IGA group and stores operating through Metcash such as Foodworks and Spar Express stores.

    Honestly, I seriously doubt newspaper floor stands justify the space they take in a supermarket….unless that space is being paid for that is.


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