Government hands Big Issue magazine $1.2m to create jobs for women

The Big Issue magazine is launching a subscription service to grow copy sales and provide new jobs for disadvantaged women. The $1.2m initiative is being funded by the government. 

The Big Issue’s Women’s Subscriptions Enterprise will initially employ 90 disadvantaged women and six professional staff across Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.

Subscription sales will be overseen by professional telemarketers, with the 90 women working as dispatch assistants – collating, sorting and inserting the magazines every fortnight.

The Big Issue is currently sold to vendors, predominantly disadvantaged men, who buy the magazine at a cost of $2.50 each, which they then sell on the streets for $5.

According to internal sales figures it sells around 30,000 copies each fortnight, and Roy Morgan data shows that it has a readership of 130,000 per issue.

Natalie Susman, The Big Issue head of corporate affairs, said it would focus on selling subscriptions to libraries, schools, public agencies and corporations, rather than individuals, which is the primary target market for vendors.

“After successfully managing the Street Magazine Enterprise which has shown remarkable outcomes and positive change, predominantly for men over the past 14 years, we are now expanding into an entirely new market and at the same time addressing the needs of a whole new demographic of disadvantaged people – women,” she said.

“The Big Issue magazine as increased awareness and circulation is likely to increase overall vendor sales. The Big Issue expects the increase in circulation will also help to sell advertising, increasing revenue for the publication.”


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