Australian Newsagency Blog

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So what happened about the newspaper flat wrap project?

Mark Fletcher
November 23rd, 2016 · 5 Comments

Back in 2006 the flat wrapping of newspapers for home delivery was a big issue. After various trials, flat wrap papers became a standard in South Australia.

But what about the rest of the country? Why did flat wrap not become a national standard?

Ten years ago this was a big story. There were many meetings and many arguments. It was thought by some to be crucial to the success of newspapers into the future.

We now know flat wrap has had no impact on the sales success of a newspaper.

The South Australian situation was and is unique because of how home delivery agents are clustered in depots, groups of newsagents sharing infrastructure. Even so, newsagents with larger distribution businesses elsewhere have not embraced flat wrap.

In Adelaide yesterday I saw a flat wrapped paper in a cafe and this reminded me of the discussions in 2006. here is a photo of the paper:

IMG_1059

That flat wrap has not taken off around the country makes me wonder about the claims in 2006 of how vital flat wrap was and about the costs of the infrastructure given the poor return newspapers provide today.

I am writing about it today in the hope some newsagents till involved in flat wrap share their experiences as I am sure there are newsagents in the channel who know nothing about this type of newspaper delivery.

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Category: Newspaper distribution · Newspapers · Social responsibility

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Chris // Nov 23, 2016 at 5:46 AM

    I remember at the ANF conferences back in the day how all the talk was about flat wrap saving the newspaper and increasing deliveries and it being best practice. I can still picture the video shown of a flat wrap paper being thrown from a car onto a driveway! I was sceptical then and am happy that I did not invest any money. I hope newsagents who did invest in it have benefited.

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  • 2 Mark Fletcher // Nov 23, 2016 at 6:04 AM

    Chris this is one of my points. Lots of noise back then, which led to nothing. How this has played out is another question of relevance of associations.

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  • 3 Mark Richardson // Nov 23, 2016 at 1:41 PM

    Chris no investment from Newsagents was required here in SA as News Ltd supply the papers to us flat wrapped in plastic. Surprisingly it doesn’t take long to adapt to the actual throwing of the paper and not having to wrap them saves time. The negatives are not waterproof so wt papers are an issue also on windy days they blow away !!!

    1 likes

  • 4 Katie // Nov 28, 2016 at 1:49 PM

    We went to flat wrap for about 18 months about 5 years ago What a disaster. Went back to rolling them and happy to do so. The weekday papers are so thin now that throwing them flat was like trying to throw a tissue out the window and land it on someones lawn. The weekend papers are so big now that if they didn’t bust the bag, the bag leaked anyway when it rained because they have to leave air holes in the wrapped item so as to not bust it when it lands. Every weekend it rained, dozens of complaints about wet papers, most of them became like paper mache. Actually, thinking back I can’t believe we persevered for that long with the flat wrapping! From Brett (Katie’s Dad)

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  • 5 Rob // Dec 4, 2016 at 4:20 PM

    Most of the “noise” and hype about flat wrap came from failed entrepreneur Simon Coulter.

    Fresh from the failure of his Handii computers collapse, he began pushing the use of his flatwrapping machines. But with poor quality, no customer service and no ethics it too was a dismal failure.

    I believe he is now involved in get rich quick door to door marketing of solar power systems.

    Most who feel for the hype and tried it didn’t like it, and seem to have reverted back to the traditional rolled methods.

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