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

What is the definition of a newsagent?

A newsagent today in Australia is not what it was a few years ago. The Australian newsagent business, or newsagency as many prefer, is an evolving business selling cards, magazines, papers, stationery, gifts and, usually lottery products.

It is rare you will find tobacco products in a newsagency business. Many of us ditched that category years ago.

A newsagent in Australia today is more likely to look like a gift shop. Fresh. Innovative. Inviting. Very different to the type of business you would have seen as a newsagency years ago.

Most newsagents don’t deliver newspapers, the publishers took that from them.

What is the definition of a newsagent? is a question often put into search engines by people in Australia. I hope this post indexes in search results to provide a better answer that the current one.

Some people also ask Is it newsagent or newsagents? I would say to this that it is newsagency if you are referring to the business. But, really, the shop can be called whatever the local owner wants. The days of putting the word newsagency above the entrance are gone since that term is loaded with history that’s not relevant to what we do today.

Writing for a chapter contribution to a book on  the history of Australian media I noted:

Since 2011, the pace of change in retail newsagency businesses has increased considerably, driven by declining sales of print media products, increased retail real estate and labour costs, a higher cost of capital and a greater penetration of franchise groups providing newsagents with management and marketing advice. 

By 2012, there was a growing separation between distribution newsagencies and retail newsagencies, as well as a growing gulf among retail newsagencies. This was encouraged by News Limited with a trial project called T2020, intended to force newspaper distribution consolidation among newsagents. While T2020 failed to go beyond trial, newspaper publishers continued to encourage newsagents to consolidate to drive operational efficiency. 

In 2013, around 7 per cent of retail newsagencies closed, due to a lack of newspaper home delivery revenue and falling newspaper and magazine retail income. Today, while a typical high street newsagency has a floor space similar to that of 30 years ago, the average shopping centre newsagency has a more diverse product offering. 

Things have changed so much since 2013. Indeed, the Aussie newsagency today, ten years on, is more different than the 2013 version compared to 20 years prior.

Newsagency management

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