Australian Newsagency Blog

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

Thinning newspapers have other implications

Mark Fletcher
August 10th, 2018 · 6 Comments

Thinning newspapers in Australia are not dealing well with being rolled. The photo shows The Age from Friday a week ago. Whereas a few years back you could easily fold the paper back into shape, it is hard now with such a thin product.

The photo shows the paper after a couple of goes at straightening it out for easier reading. This presentation that you can see in the photo impacts on product enjoyment and potentially impacts subscriber numbers.

While I understand rolling machine setting adjustment could result in a better outcome, there is a problem with thinning newspapers and how to provide the subscriber with a more enjoyable outcome.

Papers most days are too thin for flat wrap, which was the obsession of parts of News Corp years ago. There was an extensive trial and plenty of debate.

Maybe, the approach in some US cities of a single fold into a slim bag you can hang of a door handle could work or maybe a simple tri-fold into a flatter bag. However, neither lends themselves to throwing. The photo here, taken earlier this week, shows a how a newspaper is presented for a home delivery customer in a town in Wisconsin.

I do think there are issues here to be considered by distribution experts, to ensure customer satisfaction and thereby push back against loss of subscribers due to product presentation.

A distribution newsagent I was talking with last week suggested a return to hand folding. Another who already does this themselves for a small run says they easily adjust the strength of the roll based on the thickness of the product.

It is ironic that thinness is a challenge today where years ago thickness was the issue, a big issue.


Category: Newspaper distribution · newspaper home delivery · Newspapers

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Lance // Aug 10, 2018 at 8:41 AM

    I realise added material and labour cost plus wastage is also a consideration, but would a sheet of thinnish cardboard work to help keep shape if inserted in the middle of the paper ?


  • 2 Steve Bloom // Aug 10, 2018 at 10:15 AM

    Single use plastic. Your industry needs to fix this.


  • 3 PAT EARLEY // Aug 10, 2018 at 1:35 PM

    Why anyone is still delivering papers is more the point


  • 4 Paul S // Aug 11, 2018 at 8:55 AM

    Steve that’s a good point ! Perhaps we need to start making the public aware that there is probably as much single use plastic coming from these than there was from single use bags.


  • 5 Jason // Aug 13, 2018 at 3:32 PM

    “While I understand rolling machine setting adjustment could result in a better outcome…”

    Sounds like in the meantime an adjustment to the machine is needed. Those full page ad wraps and subscription stickers on the front would fatten it up a bit too.


  • 6 Fabian // Jul 11, 2019 at 9:16 PM

    I’ve seen that approach to home delivery of newspapers when visiting the US.

    “The St George and Sutherland Shire Leader” is often delivered to my residence with a trifold and often in a plastic bag (usually when rainy but sometimes they do it in all weather). Most of the time it does come try and water seep in.

    Also I have had ongoing home delivery problems with “The Australian” and one of the customer service attendants is claiming that “The Australian” must be delivered to homes flat wrapped. This was just a few weeks ago when they asked me how the paper is typically wrapped.


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