The first report of the magazine trials

Trials are being done now with the permission of the ACCC and the magazine distributors

"to optimise the supply of magazines to newsagencies generally and increasing the sustainable return on investment for newsagents, publishers and distributors."

Then I was upset that the raw data is not being released, despite ACCC assurance that it would be. I still see no reason why this data should not be released to interested parties!

Still after we were asked by the magazine distributors to help with their data collection, we decided to look into what the trials look like with our clients. Although its early days yet the results do look promising, in fact, they look very good.

Overall sales of magazines are down for those in the trial but then, so are just about everyone else so I am not surprised about this. The complaints have generally been on the amount of unsellable magazines being delivered. It makes no difference to retail sales in whose back room these unsellable magazines sit. It will not affect retail sales.

As people involved in the trial are reporting that there is a lot less rubbish coming in, their work load is much less. This results in lower labour costs and better cash flow. All this does increase the return on investment which is what the magazine distributors promised to do.

The other problem with sales is that magazine distributors are not able to fix the problem that sales of magazines tend to be linked to goods that most of their agents. In this case, most of their agents sell products like newspapers, books, gifts and tobacco. Except for gifts, these items are generally down so this alone will drag down magazine sales. I find that most agents that are increasing magazine sales are doing so as they are selling more gifts and toys. More customers for gifts and toys mean more buyers for magazines.

Now this is an interestingly point Gordon and Gotch's magazine sales are doing better in the trial then Network. Why I do not know, but full marks to Gordon and Gotch?

There are some issues with magazines that could sell but have not come in, I would estimate that this would be top about 10%.

What we have no investigated yet is.

1) Magazines that the agent did not get enough quantities, so they sold out.

2) How much rubbish is still coming.

These issues we still need to investigate.

Overall there is no bad news to report that I can see. I still have questions; the big one is can this, can this trial be done industry wide? Clearly, this improvement can be done for a few sites but its a big difference if everyone is involved.

Still people on the trials who I have discussed it with me are happy with the results. No-one wants to go back to what was and no-one I know has dropped out. It will be the job of the ANF to make sure that they do not go back, and these trials expand.