Australian Newsagency Blog

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

The loss making book promotion from News Corp.

Mark Fletcher
February 13th, 2020 · 6 Comments

The newspaper sales latest book promotion from News Corp. is as frustrating as these promotions have become with stock arriving in bulk the week before and fully paying for this before 90% of the stock can be sold. Then, there is the appalling margin position.

Add to these points that the promotion drives minimal net new traffic and you can see why it is not highly regarded by many retailers.

As well as the paltry margin that itself does not even cover labour and space, News Corp wants floor stickers and posters, visual noise that detract from the messages that are more commercially valuable for our business. This is why I removed all  promotional material on the weekend.

I get that publishers want to support over the counter newspaper purchases as they play a valuable role in conversion to subscription, especially digital subscription. I’d like to see a fairer billing cycle, better margin and more active support of retail newsagents as locations.

Running a promotion that takes up so much time and space and distracts from the new core of the business no longer works for me. So, something has to give. In the face of tired and inflexible promotions from News, I think my next step is one I have to take. The future of my business is not in low margin inefficient agency lines.

I was frustrated when I saw the books and posters on Saturday because there is so much good margin news in the shop with new categories performing well and delivering high-value new shoppers to the business. I saw all this good news and the fresh appeal off the front of the shop and then, thud, there was this  reminder of practices from decades ago. It was like going back in time.


Category: Newsagency challenges · Newspapers

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Paul S // Feb 13, 2020 at 10:23 AM

    Mark, I haven’t participated in the News Corp promotions for 6 years now.
    If you’re a newsagent and you’re doing these because of some misguided belief you will lose customers and you are actually making money from it then you are very sadly mistaken. If you want to allow News Corp to keep using you for their own ends without fair and reasonable recompense then keep going as you are now.
    I 100% agree. The future is not in low margin agency lines.


  • 2 Graeme Day // Feb 13, 2020 at 1:01 PM

    Correct Paul.
    Profit is only achieved with low margins by selling high priced goods or by huge volumes such as Lotto etc. Newspapers, magazines have lost the volume over the years and it’s not returning to retail sales.
    One needs an overal product range average G.P in the mid to high 40’s to be trading well.


  • 3 James // Feb 13, 2020 at 1:25 PM

    HWT promotions now serve no purpose other than to camouflage a cover price increase.

    There are no benefits whatsoever for retailers.


  • 4 RJ // Feb 13, 2020 at 9:20 PM

    Like all the other News Corp promotions what doesn’t get sold now will end up being sold at QBD Books stores.


  • 5 Graeme Day // Feb 13, 2020 at 10:18 PM

    Thanks RJ I hadn’t noticed that before. It’s not surprising they have some great specials.


  • 6 Peter // Feb 14, 2020 at 6:01 PM

    Saw a Catalogue from Heron and there was the remainders from Rupert’s Paddington Bear collection. I passed comment to the rep. This led to some quiet interesting discussions.


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