Australian Newsagency Blog

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FFS! News Corp. puts papers in 100 Chemist Warehouse outlets

Mark Fletcher
April 30th, 2020 · 21 Comments

News Corp has announced that it is putting its papers into 100 Chemist Warehouse shops. Here is their media release.

News Corp Australia and Chemist Warehouse have joined forces to make trusted newspapers available to customers during the coronavirus pandemic.

From this week, 100 Chemist Warehouse stores across New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia will become a point of sale for News Corp’s metro mastheads, The Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun, The Courier Mail and The Advertiser.

Pharmacies as well as news brands have both seen consumer demand surge in the past two months, as Australians stock up on wellbeing products and turn to trusted sources for information and analysis on the crisis.

Lou Barrett, managing director of national sales for News Corp Australia said: “We’re always looking for new ways to assist our clients and their customers and given we’ve seen a spike in audience demand for our products, it makes perfect sense to have them available for sale in Chemist Warehouse stores.”

Lia Heim, group marketing manager at Chemist Warehouse said: “As an essential service ourselves, the ability to provide our customers with another essential service within our stores, that being trusted newspapers, means that shoppers can minimise their travel within the local community whilst remaining updated and informed.”

The initiative will operate on a trial basis until July and, pending the result, may be extended to 400 stores nationwide.

Newsagents are wondering is the News Corp move to sell papers through Chemist Warehouse is a move by the company to break away from these local family businesses. It certainly looks that way. That said, I suspect them move is News Corp. working with a valuable, long-term, advertising partner.

Given the Chemist Warehouse model, look for free papers to be offered when shoppers spend above a certain amount, like News Corp regularly runs in supermarkets. These campaigns hurt local newsagency over the counter sales.

Regardless of the reason, the News Corp decision will hurt small business newsagents emotionally and, possibly, financially, and this is bad news for the channel.

What do I think? I think this move sucks. There is nothing good about it for newsagents. The move by News is socially irresponsible right now.

Our channel has been a good and faithful servant of News Corp for decades. Putting up with cuts to margin and watching as they preference supermarkets with sweet deals.

It seems to me that News Corp. does not care for our channel.


Category: Ethics · Newspapers · Social responsibility

21 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Peter // Apr 30, 2020 at 2:18 PM

    For some time now (I think well over 12 months) I have been receiving roughly 125 “The House of Wellness” magazine Published by Chemist Warehouse printed and distributed by Rupert on what appears to be a seasonal basis. We have conscientiously tried to give it a away a free Magazine and it has been studiously ignored by customers as an advertising blurb. Now I regularly throw out all bar 5 or less of this Magazine (there is always some customers who want freebies and it was tried a giveaway with the DT to no effect). I left it on the counter as a free giveaway for quiet some time and was ignored.

    It does raise the question of why and whose pissing in whose pocket. Maybe there are trying to replace the market Footprint they lost with closure of Newsagencies with another chain. If thats the case, it won’t work


  • 2 Graeme Day // Apr 30, 2020 at 3:44 PM

    Peter, it won’t work as you say. but first New Coget extra sales They have taken this view to increase circulation. Whether it works or not is their problem We stock newspaers not a a newsagent anymore,as reseller same a Woolworths Coles and now Chemist Wharehouse. We as resellers coming from a strong base once when we were the only selling agents still have loyal followers. Time we accepted reality and if it suits we still sell them if not move on. Our decision not a gripe. There is no loyalty, those times wont with our contracts.
    Peter, supporting your comment,we have, traffic and tradition on our side, pharmacy’s,(where there is large warehouse space have check out problems, so like supermarkets the newspapers need to be up front counter. Most have check out only and at rear Despensary. News Corp must be desperate which is the real worry for all of us which means use the product wisely for 12.5% of cover price it needs a different functional reason for being there it’s not profit for any retailer Chemist or newsagent or C Stores.


  • 3 Glenn // Apr 30, 2020 at 7:01 PM

    Newspaper publishers have not cared for our channel for years – this is old news to anyone who has been paying even vague attention.

    The real challenge we have is getting our channel, and by this I refer to retail newsagents rather than delivery agents, to not care for newspaper publishers by diversifying our businesses and pushing into exploring new opportunities.

    The sooner we make newspapers irrelevant in our business the better off we will be. They have zero loyalty to us – time to move on.


  • 4 Mark Fletcher // Apr 30, 2020 at 7:29 PM

    I received a phone call from Michael Miller, News Corp. Chairman tonight. He reminded me that they have been supporting of newsagents being designated essential through COVID-19 and that they continue to actively support home delivery. While those points are accurate, I remain of the view that this move will hurt, financially and emotionally, vulnerable small business newsagents.


  • 5 Graeme Day // Apr 30, 2020 at 7:29 PM

    I agree, not irrelevant just relevant to what they represent in value to each store. Delivery agents have been put notice for years and ongoing it’s a dying part of the industry for traditional agents.


  • 6 Steve // Apr 30, 2020 at 7:54 PM

    Yeah a strange move particularly at this time. Whilst I haven’t been into a Chemist Warehouse recently I have noticed very stringent social distancing/hand washing requirements in the pharmacies I have visited. Good luck to them but I am pretty sceptical of the benefit to Newscorp here.

    Would be interesting to see the latest Newspaper distribution numbers in local suburban/rural newsagencies. I suspect they may be up as people are forced to stay home and with the general retail shutdown in shopping centres. Would be a great time for Newscorp to remind its readers to support their local newsagent who after all have been distributing their newspapers for over 125 years.


  • 7 Mark Fletcher // May 1, 2020 at 6:57 AM

    With most transit locations closed and some of the free newspaper outlets, like airport gates, all but closed, I suspect that There is rockiness in newspaper sales. I see an increase in sales in some locations and a decline in others.

    As I’ve noted, I think the Chemist Warehouse move is to ‘protect’ a key advertiser relationship.


  • 8 Graeme Day // May 1, 2020 at 7:54 AM

    There needs qualification to the reference Distribution numbers for at this point in time Rural NSW has all of their split publications of newsapaers in shutdown i.e. a newspaper previously published 2-3 day per week is now closed. Only full week publications are being printed, Northern Leader etc. and they are being printed at a central location (Iwould think Richmond for ACM)
    This shows that they are in the same boat as all of us -survival mode.
    Most newsagents I believe have been told of for their Local newspaper an expected time of resumption in roundabout terms, say end of May.
    Some of the offices in the Towns have closed permantley although ACM have indicated their paper may still be reprinted when they can see daylight to do so.
    COVID -19 has affected everyone and everyon has had to focus on self survival which means taking into consideration all existing relationships as well as opportunities for survival. Newsagents in Rural NSW as I am aware are have an essential service label which enables opening all hours. This is a great opportunity to do more for their community and maintain relationships until some form of normalcy comes into being.
    Most I talk with are doing okay in retail, a bit down here and a bit up there but overall not too bad, much better than expected and better than most.


  • 9 Colin // May 1, 2020 at 9:35 AM


    ‘re your last para, are you serious ?

    Most are doing ok. Most is defined as more than 50%. How can most be doing better than most ?

    Message to government financial assistance no longer required as most doing ok.

    No doubt you meant something else, some proof reading before you post is advised and not just for this post.


  • 10 Graeme Day // May 1, 2020 at 2:05 PM

    Colin has a problem should have been a school teacher.
    Below is what I said, re read it for it’s nothing like your made up version.

    “Most I talk with are doing okay in retail, a bit down here and a bit up there but overall not too bad, much better than expected and better than most”.
    please note that most or more than most can only be compared as a percentage when there is numeracy, i.e. actual number involved unless of course you are referring to 50% of a herd or a bunch or newsagents which then it begs the question of how many is there we all know if this was the case it would be 100% more than the reference.
    No such reference was made therefore I stand by most I talk with -no number just most that I talked to.
    Please get a life and read more carefully we do have a real problem out there and I am doing the best with what I’ve got.with the snippets I get and the knowledge I have.
    If you have a different knowledge or experience please let us all know I promise not to spell check you.

    My Posts are about meaning and purpose much like a lot of posts here. They too have some punctuation or english fault especially spelling Some of it due to the NBN slow take of typing and letters preceding the speed of keyboard messaging especially if you are Bluetooth operational.
    Get with the flavour of helping and not critising for the sake of point scoring superiority it doesn’t give you greater intellect just a defining arrogance. leave the small stuff for it’s all small stuff I am sure you have something to contribute in fact I have agreed with most of your posts and stated so. You are most welcome to disagree with my messages We all have differences and this is the beauty of this Blog.
    There is no spell check on this blog which is not a problem except when you are time short or one has slower NBN with most peolpe in lockdown


  • 11 Bruce H // May 1, 2020 at 3:26 PM

    Michael Miller – Supportive of Newsagent home delivery?? In Sydney?? I think not – you sacked us all!!


  • 12 Glenn // May 1, 2020 at 5:22 PM

    The ONLY reason News Corp has advocated for newsagents to be classified essential and to support home delivery is because they have no alternative means of effectively getting their product to market, not because they are being nice guys.

    News, and any other newspaper publisher, does only what they perceive to be in their best interest with no consideration for the other party. If they feel newsagents are of some use to them, they will blow smoke up your rear only until it suits them not to.

    I would expect the incremental benefit to readers of having newspapers available in a chemist is virtually zero, yet News is happy to brush any existing relationship with its largest route to market aside without a care of the impact that could have on so many small businesses.

    News are desperate and their actions clearly demonstrate that they don’t care about you or your business. They are doing what they feel is best for them, and we all need to do the same with no loyalty to past relationships like this.


  • 13 Andrew // May 2, 2020 at 6:15 PM

    I used to buy The Herald Sun and its predecessors almost daily. I stopped when News started going with the “Let’s Kick This Mob Out” rot during the 2013 federal election. Haven’t bought a News Corp paper since. So I’m not going to start again now just because it’s selling in Chemist Warehouse.


  • 14 Graeme Day // May 2, 2020 at 11:10 PM

    Glenn, the classification of essentail service is by the Government not News Corp and it applies to all newsagent even thos without delivery. you are giving News Corp too much credit here.


  • 15 Mark Fletcher // May 3, 2020 at 7:36 AM

    Unfortunately, the classification applies to pure lottery outlets, too, that have ‘obtained’ papers and magazines from non traditional sources when the newsagents for their small town in northers Tasmania refused supply.


  • 16 Jason // May 6, 2020 at 9:44 PM

    “It seems to me that News Corp. does not care for our channel”

    Because there are other channels that are much easier to deal with, have better data to support campaigns and will cost significantly less time and money to get it done. You could put a campaign together and put it to News if you wanted to…


  • 17 Mark Fletcher // May 6, 2020 at 9:49 PM



  • 18 Graeme Day // May 7, 2020 at 7:47 AM

    Jason, it’s over -we are now resellers of newsapers if not in reality as in Sydney metro we are in the making.
    Former relationships trading wise are over. Get it! move on.


  • 19 Petetr // May 7, 2020 at 2:37 PM

    In Country NSW we are still doing both retail and distribution however on an ever shrinking margin. I believe what happened in Sydney and now the outer metropolitan area will not occur in a lot of country locations as the economies of scale are not there. In some country cities yes but elsewhere no. One thing I found most amusing when I brought my Business was all areas around my purported territory where shown as unclaimed territory (or some similar phrase). As a result of the nearest towns being 30 minutes or more away you tend to look at other Newsagencies not as a competitor but some who you help or get help from. Further look at what has transpired in Mudgee.

    I also now agree with Mark,s comment “As I’ve noted, I think the Chemist Warehouse move is to ‘protect’ a key advertiser relationship.”


  • 20 Lance // May 7, 2020 at 9:41 PM

    “As I’ve noted, I think the Chemist Warehouse move is to ‘protect’ a key advertiser relationship.”

    That sounds plausible from News Corp point of view, but what are CW getting out of it ?
    Perhaps the papers are no charge.
    What genuine reason could CW put to this.
    I would have thought it would be more trouble than it’s worth to them for the sake of a few papers.
    People aren’t likely to trip on down to CW for a paper rather than their local newsagent are they…………..are they ?


  • 21 Peter // May 8, 2020 at 7:42 AM

    Lance that is exactly what I wondered about especially when I considered the lack of success for “House of Wellness Magazine”. However I am only on location.


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