ACCC Authorisation application lodged by the Magazine Publishers of Australia - A91472

I have been invited to make an oral submissions to the ACCC at a pre-decision conference in relation to the application by the Magazine Publishers of Australia

The Association of Magazine Publishers of Australia (MPA) has applied for authorisation to enter into an agreement to undertake a pilot program to test and refine proposed changes to the current magazine distribution model. The pilot is to be conducted by magazine distributors Bauer Media Pty Ltd (through its magazine distribution division Network Services) and Gordon & Gotch (the distributors), in relation to magazine distribution to approximately 20 selected newsagents (pilot participants) for a period of 3-6 months.

Under the proposed arrangement the distributors would be required, in relation to distribution of magazines to pilot participants, to:
- cease distributing a title if the magazine title has experienced consecutive nil sales by the particular pilot participant for a period of time
- limit the number of copies of each magazine title to a certain percentage above the number of the title generally sold by the pilot participant
- in most cases not require pilot participants to provide returns of full copies of unsold magazines, but instead accept front covers, headers etc as evidence of unsold copies
- adhere to certain restrictions on the redistribution of issues which have already previously been distributed, to the distribution of new magazine titles, and to split deliveries of magazine issues during the period the issue is on sale
- restrict the period for which pilot participants are required to display magazine issues for sale to 12 weeks or less, except in certain circumstances.

The pilot is to intended to assist in the promulgation and implementation of a Distribution Code of Conduct, whose object it to optimise the supply of magazines to newsagencies generally and increasing the sustainable return on investment for newsagents, publishers and distributors.

On 12 March 2015 the ACCC issued a draft determination proposing to grant authorisation to the arrangements. The ACCC also granted interim authorisation to commence on 1 April 2015.

More details are available here.