Fletcher: “Stop giving supermarkets better price deals”
A push by Magazine Publishers of Australia to entice customers into newsagents by offering high-end prizes has succeed in attracting more shoppers, according to newsagent and director of Newsxpress, Mark Fletcher; however, he warns magazine publishers must stop giving supermarkets “better” price deals.
The three-phase promotion, which launched last month, includes three national newsagent-exclusive promotions run over three months that focus on weekly, home and food titles and offer prizes (including a car) in an effort to encourage consumers purchase a magazine from a newsagent.
Phase one of the campaign, which is backed by Bauer Media, Pacific Magazines and NewsLifeMedia, ran in February and focused on weekly magazines.
While the MPA is yet to release results, as it is waiting for the end of the promotion, it says the first weekly promotion delivered “outstanding sales results”.
Even within the magazine industry there is conflict around how much of the market newsagencies are responsible for, with one source suggesting newsagents sell around 60% of magazines, while another suggests it is just under 50% – with supermarkets, petrol stations and convenience stores accounting for the remainder.
Fletcher, director of Newsxpress and CEO of point-of-sale software company Tower Systems International, told Mumbrella: “At a granular level, in one of my stores we have the pitch on the lease line, facing into the mall and it is attracting shoppers. We are using it to differentiate from Coles.”
While Fletcher said he welcomed the campaign, he called on the magazine publishers “to stop giving supermarkets better deals”.
“News Corp has Inside Out at Coles for a cover price $2 lower than our price. This is nuts,” he said.
“Supermarkets treat magazines as a commodity. Newsagents continue to range the category as specialists. That has a higher cost for us yet we are not respected for this.
“The MPA needs to reconsider its focus on newsagents as the specialists as the current situation is a band aid approach that does not serve them or us well.”
Zavecz: “Anecdotal feedback is very positive”.
Peter Zavecz, chairman of the MPA, told Mumbrella the MPA is “very happy” with the results of the campaign so far and the “anecdotal feedback is very positive”.
In a statement, Mary Ann Azer, MPA executive director, said: “This is a strategically important and timely industry first for the MP. The campaign set out to drive passion and excitement back into the medium and the channel – and with it sales for our supporting publishers.
“The initiative has certainly caught the imagination of our 1,700-plus newsagency partners and the results so far are impressive.”
This month the campaign focuses on the Home and Lifestyle category and is promoting magazines including Better Homes & Gardens, Australian House & Garden, Real Living, Home Beautiful, Vogue Living and Inside Out.