Australian Newsagency Blog

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Questions for newsagents from uni students

Mark Fletcher
September 17th, 2018 · 6 Comments

I have been interviewed by four uni students in this week for papers each is preparing for assessment. Two are writing papers for business studies, one for journalism and one for media studies.

In each case they were interested in where our channel sits in this period of disruption to print media. They came at the questions from the perspective of a print is dead world.

We talked about the habit based shopper for newspapers, their typical age and what else they buy. We also talked about regular magazine shoppers, =especially special interest title shoppers. They had not considered looking nat magazines beyond titled in the top ten.

Two students were shocked that some newsagents are growing their businesses outside of print media products, that some have been doing this for years.

The journalism student was really interesting to talk with because we discussed what constitutes journalism today and explored how local businesses, like newsagencies, might play a role in that evolving world.

One business student had not considered newsagency businesses trading outside their traditional shingle. The discussion led them to reconsider the position they were taking in their paper, that our channel would become extinct.

What I liked most about the discussions was the two-way discussion. They challenged me and I challenged them. I learnt plenty about a valuable demographic as these students will graduate, they will, hopefully, get jobs and they could become our customers.

I was surprised to learn that all four thought of our businesses as newsagencies =would have been in the 1990s. None could remember visiting a newsagency business that they would consider purchasing from beyond lottery, magazine, newspaper and some stationery products. None could name a newsagency they’d visit for gifts.

We newsagents have to change this. We have to preach loud and long about our relevance today, about our pitch away from what has been traditional for the channel. Those who are growing are growing in these new and fringe product category areas.

No one else will make this we are relevant today pitch for us. We have to do it relentlessly, entertainingly and with a voice that is relevant. Were need to do this so uni students don’t look at our channel only as one that is in a death roll.

I say this because each of the uni students I spoke with is open to a newsagency channel that is relevant to them, even if only a few times a year.


Category: Newsagency management · newsagency marketing · newsagency of the future · Newsagency opportunities

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Colin // Sep 17, 2018 at 8:26 AM

    What it tells me is that for many the term newsagent is toxic. There is a whole swathe of the population tion who do not and will not consider shopping in a newsagency. Since the laggards are likely to be around for some years, changing the perception of newsagents will be an uphill battle. Better to put distance between yourself and these slowly dying business who will continue to tarnish the brand.


  • 2 Graeme // Sep 17, 2018 at 9:42 AM

    Good point Colin, however it’s a bit like all transition online versus B&M Shopping. Some go solely others do both. Profitability is the key.
    Newsagents over the years have lost the “community based consumer” for various reasons, competition of other products Cards, Gifts Stationery, Magazines and Newspapers to name some, Plus online print competition.
    What child today knows of ANCOL? which was once a household name for school requisites.
    Current video’s posted here encourage through face book and other social media a renewed connect with the community. Subliminal as it is, it really is a giant step to connect again with the now modern family. This is much needed to bridge the “gap” of the “disconnect” we have created by not chasing those declining markets.
    It’s certianly not too late for newsagents to start now as they have the foot traffic and in a few years then it may be too late to capitalise on this aspect.


  • 3 Greenacres // Sep 17, 2018 at 2:51 PM

    I think its a lot to do with our shingle, our shingle say were a News agent. that’s not what we are,
    were much more than that today, but what shingle we use to discribe our changing industry, I dont know.


  • 4 Jim // Sep 17, 2018 at 7:16 PM

    There’s no value in the shingle. This is evident in the sales multiples. Its every man for himself now and that means finding something unique for your local market, with a lottery business that will support traffic flow. I think banner groups are redundant as they reduce your business to the lowest common denominator.


  • 5 Colin // Sep 17, 2018 at 9:29 PM

    Where to start.

    Graeme, sure some have foot traffic and some are making community connection. But trying to step outside of existing sales avenues under the newsagency banner is a no no for all those who see the newsagency as toxic. We need to step outside and engage with those who are put off by the current shingle.

    Jim. The banner groups are not redundant. If members buy in 100% they can represent the way out if chosen correctly for your circumstances. Problem is, the banner groups have within them the laggard members who buy in but expect membership without change to bring results. They take their toxicity with them.


  • 6 Graeme // Sep 18, 2018 at 7:08 AM

    Colin, I agree the end game is ro get focused recognition such as say Smiggles.
    You answered Jim with the pathway.
    Take on both the old with emphasis on the new and grow the customer thinking into a “new” concept.
    Transition is exactly what it is.
    It will evovle and as it dos the “toxi” label will fade with the new concept being recognised.
    There are plenty of exampes of successful takeovers doing exactly this. From Telegraph Mirror merge morning and afternoon newspaper to Telegraph all day paper to now on line currently slowly evolving. Norman Ross to reinvent to Harvey Norman. Grace Brothers to Myer.
    it will take a while. The fact hat some have started some are more advanced than others with exceelent success is a pathway for others.
    It needs embracing and fostereing for new ideas develop with sharing and this helps all.
    The soft social medis videos produced and shown here are an excellent idea of “freindly” communication fro a relic or toxic brand to a future and warm environment.
    Doesn’t suit those who view their busines differently but as you say “they take their toxicity with them”


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