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

The turmoil of newspaper delivery for a regional newsagent under new News Corp arrangements in Victoria

Victoria is in the middle of considerable changes to newspaper distribution let by decisions of  News Corp.. While change can be challenging, as we have seen in Queensland and New South Wales, the newspaper distribution experts at News Corp. are certainly expert at the botch up. Newsagents are suffering, enduring higher costs and upset that they are letting their long-term customers down.

Here is the experience of one regional newsagent in Victoria in dealing with the Herald and Weekly Times:

The Herald and Weekly Times replaced the reliable transport company they had used for decades to deliver papers to us and many newsagents in regional Victoria. Under the new transport company arrangement, it has been a nightmare.

Previously, papers for home delivery were delivered between 2:30am-3:30am, giving us time to unload, wrap and deliver by 6:30am. This meant deliveries were done when there was less traffic on the road. Delivery people are working longer hours and are delivering to homes in a less safe situation given more traffic on the road later in the morning.

Newspaper home delivery drivers are angry and threatening to leave. Customers are disadvantaged with later papers, often coming after they have left for work.

Circulation people at the Herald and Weekly Times have been disinterested. They tell newsagents to be patient and that what newsagents are experience are teething issues. For the first couple of weeks this could be the excuse, but months in, it is no excuse at all. To be fair to them, maybe they are saying all they can given the company’s decisions.

The Herald and Weekly Times people set the OH&S standards that newsagents are consistently unable to meet now because of their failure to deliver newspapers on time. The consistent failure puts delivery drivers and the public at risk.

The failures of this change in newspaper delivery transport arrangements is impacting the mental health of some in our channel. Yet, management at the Herald and Weekly Times, and their masters at News Corp. headquarters in Sydney appear disinterested. It feels like the News Corp. financial situation is all that matters.

I get that News Corp. wants to cut costs. But to do so in a way that even more burdens are shouldered by local small business retailers reflects a lack of ethics, it represents poor social responsibility.

I tell newsagents who tell me about the challenges relating to getting newspapers on time for home delivery to quit newspaper home delivery. There is no upside. What you make today in real terms from newspaper home delivery is less than a couple of years ago. Few newsagents genuinely profit from it. It is a distraction to other parts of the business that should be experiencing double-digit growth, and which make you happier.

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  1. David

    You could have written this about me. years of good service and they trashed it in months. What a waste.

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  2. Stephen B

    And now we hear they will be delivering our magazines as well in 3 weeks time.
    We can only hope – they had a good system but apparently money is worth more than doing a job well.

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  3. Graeme Day

    Marks last paragraph states very much the frustration of bring the enevitable into the present
    the publisher -all of them, not just News Ltd have a shifting base of surviva from print to electronic. The transition is no better for them than it is for us.
    the point is we were te agents andid the very best job of this -We made money -We once were told to purchase you had to be unencimbered-that means sell your house and buy a newsagency with two thirds unencumberd cash where the goodwill was based on circlulation of newspapers only and add to insult thety the publisher chose the newsagency for you for a minimum of two years.
    Fast forward Marke has highlighted the difference over the years of consumer demand
    Consumer growth is resultant on getting a better deal in the market place -for both.
    The publishers have made a choice for their own survival and it’s not a tinker’s cuss for us or the past good service that the system provide. We are no longer their agent
    Our future is in the retail component, always was -it started with Televison and the fact that the publishers of newsapaers owned them They cannabilised there own product by accident yet were fortunate to have the control to benefit from the redirection of news media form print to electronic
    There is no turning back for them (or us) and they will persue the survival on a cost basis to provide profitably as we should as well
    Therefore as a Rural newsagent I would look closely at the decline in slaes and home delivery especially, to develope your customer base for more solid retail product other than newsapapers and magazines -yet keep them as shop sales until they die for as long as you get demand and supply -let the consumer decide

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