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The Australian Financial Review all but out of Western Australia

This note has been sent to newsagents by Nine Media:

Supply of The Australian Financial Review

Nine has been notified of a substantial increase to printing costs of copies of The Australian Financial Review (the AFR) supplied to newsagents, distributors and sub-agents in Western Australia.

As a result of these increased costs, the supply and distribution of print copies of the AFR in Western Australia is no longer commercially viable.

Our existing print distribution arrangements for the AFR to newsagents, distributors and sub-agents in Western Australia will cease effective close of business on Wednesday, 22 May 2024. Your business has been identified as currently receiving print copies of the AFR and as a result, you will no longer receive these print copies effective close of business on Wednesday, 22 May 2024.

We will be contacting all AFR subscribers to advise them that home and office delivery of print copies of the AFR will no longer be possible after that date.

We kindly request that you make a copy of this notice available to any sub-agents or other retail outlets supplied and billed by you (i.e. those retailers who do not have a direct account with Nine).

Separately, Nine will distribute retail copies of The Australian Financial Review Magazine and the quarterly Fin! magazine in metropolitan Perth from the end of the month. If you are interested in receiving supply of any other publications that Nine may determine is commercially viable to distribute within Western Australia from time to time, please notify us of your interest via email at circsales@nine.com.au

We thank you for your past support of The Australian Financial Review. If you have any questions in relation to this matter, please contact us via email at newsagencycontracts@nine.com.au.

It’s an odd move by Seven West. Maybe they think this may help with sales of their local paper or boost interest in their new online after nine product. It will be interesting to watch how it plays out.

Aussie daily newspapers have hung on to print editions for longer than in plenty of other parts of the world. While I am no expert, I suspect that somewhere around half the daily newspapers in Australia are not profitable on the majority of days they publish. They are thin and loaded with ads from a small group of businesses.

I suspect that if were see a capital city daily close it’s print edition, several others would follow quite quickly.

There is no upside for print newspapers. Publishers have repurposed the print product to rely far less on news and to give advertisers more control of their once respected mastheads. Smart newsagents long ago adjusted their businesses to not rely on them.

Newspapers themselves are inefficient products with more than 75% of newspaper purchases in a newsagency being a newspaper and nothing else. This basket inefficiency has been a challenge for our channel for decades. Back in the 1990s the inefficiency percentage was 85% or more. It has dropped a little, not enough though and this is despite extraordinary effort to engage with newspaper shoppers to try and sell other better margin products.

In their treatment of newsagents over recent years, newspaper publishers have shown little respect. Our margin is down, which makes newspapers less valuable. It’s at a point that there are newsagents in our channel who no longer sell newspapers.

What’s happening in Western Australia with The Australian Financial Review is interesting yet far from the bigger story about newspapers that is playing out nationally.

Newspaper distribution

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  1. Perth AFR reader

    That is disgusting by Stokes in doubling their printing costs on them, unlike News Ltd. As someone who only buys the weekend edition, I wont pay for a weekly or annual digital subscription. If they allowed me easily permanently cancel it via my online account instead of being forced to phone their call centre, then I would consider it. Only very recently its daily price went from $5 to $6.


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