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Ovato publicly announces no physical magazine returns for strongnewsagents

Mark Fletcher
July 31st, 2020 · 9 Comments

Ovato hit Twitter yesterday with an announcement re no physical returns. This is great news as there is no better incentive to reduce waste in magazine printing than eliminating physical returns.

UPDATE @ 10:00am: I have been contacted by Ovato,. Apparently the Tweet announcement was inaccurate. Here is what I received:

I have been alerted that our marketing team has posted on twitter that we have stopped all physical returns. You have picked up on this on your blog today.

This was actually the EDM Mailchimp notification sent out to newsagents on our NPR (No Physical Returns) program that has been running for over 3 years that was linked to twitter in error. We do a quarterly review of all EDI sales data from XchangeIT and then confirm to agents who are on if they continue to pass the criteria and confirm to agents who have just passed they are now on the program. From the latest review with now have 1,129 newsagents on the NPR program with 25 joining from August. We know this is an extremely beneficial program to newsagents saving time and real cost and is a key focus for XchangeIT and ourselves to work with agents to improve their data and get more newsagents on the program.

In regards to continuing to simplying the magazine category for returns to save time and money we confirmed in June to all newsagents not on the NPR program that we had permanently stopped full copy returns except for partworks and selective trading cards from July. We confirmed this after doing a 3 month trial from the start of COVID in April which we received very positive feedback. The newsagents on this program still have to send back tops so we can perform audits.

I would be grateful if you could update your blog post on this do avoid and further confusion and we will send an update and apologise on twitter to clarify the mistake.

Okay, so returns of unsold magazines is still a thing, which is disappointing since newsagents can’t control wheat they get yet they have to spend money returning what does not sell.

Here is a new tweet from this morning:

Here is the original detail Ovato shared on Twitter:

To ensure continuation of this process, the following terms and conditions apply:

You will:

  • Continue to send regular Sales Inventory Data (SL2 files)
  • Submit returns files via XchangeIT not via web and Ovato Connect
  • Maintain minimum Gold Status through XchangeIT
  • Pass Ovato Retail Distribution’s data review process where variances in your EDI scan data and returns claims are evaluated across the entire Ovato Retail portfolio.
  • Continue to return full copies of Partworks and some trading cards as these are excluded from the program. We will communicate to you in advance of recall which trading cards need to be returned.  All returns boxes containing Partworks and trading cards must have the fluro “Partwork” label supplied by Ovato next week in a prominent position.
  • Hold physical returns for 2 business days commencing the day after submitting your returns through XchangeIT; this includes supplementary returns
  • Remove all returns claimed from sale and destroy all unsold product to ensure it is unsaleable

Ovato Retail Distribution will:

  • Generate random audit requests whereby you will be required to submit physical proof of claims. These audits will be advised through XchangeIT or ORD and compliance is compulsory. This is a key requirement of the program.  If you are unable to provide proof of claims to support your returns submission, we may consider your returns submission void and reverse the claims raised.
  • To meet the requirements of the audit, physical returns must be held as specified above.
  • Continue to review the performance of newsagents across all measures to ensure full compliance.
  • Require resumption of our normal physical return policy if at any time you do not meet the above criteria.
  • Provide you with “Partwork” fluro stickers to be placed prominently on all return boxes for partworks/nominated trading cards. To order additional stickers contact us on 1300 650 666 or via email

We hope these revised trading conditions deliver efficiencies related to the management of the magazine category in your business.


Category: magazine distribution · magazines

9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Peter // Jul 31, 2020 at 9:02 AM

    Ovato is also in the SMH today “Magazine Printer seeks leave to rip up staff pay deal”


  • 2 Steve // Jul 31, 2020 at 4:45 PM

    Like many others we are on the NPR program which we find to be great.

    With the withdrawal of the publication of a number of magazines we are finding the oversupply issue has become far less of a concern. The opposite is probably more concerning at present as we are struggling to keep up supply both in store and with our sub agents. Have spoken to Ovato re the issue and they have been quite helpful. In their defence the rapidly changing supply & demand issues in various parts of the country must be challenging.


  • 3 Jason // Aug 2, 2020 at 6:50 PM

    So there is a NPR program, and all that is required is to meet those criteria which don’t seem unreasonable, and people who are in the NPR program are positive about how it works for them.

    Isn’t the solution to just do what is required to join the program? It sounds like the solution they offer is acceptable, but you want it offered without the qualification criteria?


  • 4 Mark Fletcher // Aug 3, 2020 at 6:44 AM

    Jason, I can’t fine haywire in the post where I want it offered without the qualification criteria.

    The best way to focus the minds of those responsible for supply of magazines to newsagents is to have no physical returns as it makes the party setting supply more accountable.


  • 5 Jason // Aug 3, 2020 at 12:58 PM

    But that’s your expectation, right? Otherwise you’re just asking for something that’s available already and attacking it in the same breath.

    There’s a program, you were excited when the release said it’s available to all newsagents… but then when it was corrected to note the same qualification requirements apply you reversed course.


  • 6 Mark Fletcher // Aug 3, 2020 at 1:37 PM

    No, Jason, it is not my expectation.


  • 7 Jason // Aug 3, 2020 at 10:37 PM

    Great. What IS your expectation then?


  • 8 Mark Fletcher // Aug 4, 2020 at 6:49 AM

    That you stop being a troll.


  • 9 Jason // Aug 4, 2020 at 11:55 AM

    It’s a legitimate question – what exactly do you want that the existing NPR program doesn’t offer?


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