WHEN will PUBLISHERS ever LEARN?

Another month goes by and yet again the drop in newspaper sales continue going down the slippery slope to disaster, and despite some publishers shouting from the roof tops of their new way forward to stop this trend, sales show disppointing figures.

The month of June showed only none RED top increasing their figures from the previous month, The Daily Star SATURDAY edition saw an increase by 2.2%, and indeed the SUNDAY edition rose a fraction by 0.8%, never the less the overall performance for the year shows a decline of 13.5% weekdays, 11.5% on Saturdays whilst the Sunday copy has fell by a staggering 29.1%.

Its disappointing to note that the Saturday Star is the only newspaper that does NOT sell more newspapers that day than the weekday edition, but it has to be said that its no surprise to the actual news trade industry.

This newspaper made a massive mistake a few months ago when removing the free Saturday supplement, thinking the paying customers would buy their new TV Pick book instead, but after realising their massive boob, the owner of Northern Shell Richard Desmond changed his mind but failed again to reconize  the big chance of killing the other red tops by putting  the TV Pick book as a freebie. The current Saturday newspaper is too thin, and the free book is pitiful!  

Mail newspapers Monday to Friday copy saw a 1.2% rise, but the weekend copies suffered, Saturday edition was down 2.1%, whilst the Sunday copy went down by 3.3%, this despite the company’s new attempt to get more newsagents to start HND.

Telegraph weekday edition shows yearly growth since the beginning of the year, mind you over 60% sales are brought by vouchers, the “I” paper sales have risen to 238.000, whilst their sister paper the Independent saw sales fall by 19.90%.

Some publishers are totally oblivious to the outside world, they can see no further than their plush office buildings, irrespective what’s staring them in the face, it will take more than a royal baby to change the current trend, it needs publishers to wake up and smell the coffee, there is so many problems within the industry,and at the end of the day everyone’s finger is pointing in the direction of National publishers.

 

Are PUBLISHERS “tarred” with the same Brush!

 

Another month has come and gone and again the ABC figures released for the month of  JUNE  shows the decline of sales continues on the slippery slope to disaster.    

It’s time to wake up, its time fight these people, if all Publishers continue to fail to recognise the importance of working with the newsagents is the only way forward for the News Trade Industry then its their prerogative, but the days of allowing them to dictate, demoralise, and insult the newsagent with decreasing profit margins, insulting handling allowances on supplements, vouchers, and third party inserts has to stop, and STOP now. Failure will undoubtedly find some Newsagents outlets dropping news altogether, which eventually will see the number of titles being drastically reduced with some Publishers going out of business!

Strong words some said, but then again the truth always is,

We are fully aware that all National Publishers have recently received a proposal package from HNDA on their office desk, named “The only way forward for the News Trade Industry”.

This package is in the opinion of many experienced news trade officials is the only way forward for everyone within the Industry 

The package presented to all National Publishers has been stated by many news trade experts as not only the saviour for the future of the home news delivery business, but the news trade in general, which maybe why the experts believe this should have been adopted many years ago.

This Home News Delivery Affiliation proposal remains on the table knowing it’s the only way forward for any future of the news trade, but after meeting every publisher over the recent six months, it’s so obvious every one of them is tarred with the same destructible brush, hell bent of filling their own pockets whilst destroying the Industry at the same time.

The whole package benefits everyone within the Industry, not just the home news delivery newsagent members of the new organisation, but the future of the whole news Industry, the package addresses the current problems within the trade, and elevates the danger that constantly concerns most publishers.

Briefly, the package represents the needs off the once norm retail terms to be restored, to give the HND newsagents the protection of moving forward in a positive manner, guaranteed to increase sales, knowing their efforts are being rewarded and helping the trade to move forward again.

Publishers biggest concern is the average 18% wastage, which unless addressed will undoubtedly see retailers terms being cut yet again, its been quoted that the recent local newspaper terms cuts to as low as 16% could be a figure adopted by the National Publishers. They know they have the facility to cut into retailers profits whenever they wish, knowing they will face little opposition from anyone of importance, and they currently still have the backing of some out of date Thatcher law that outlines collective action.

As reported in the current issue of the weekly trade magazine Retail Newsagent, there are other organisations that have suddenly come onto the scene, so the Publishers have been busy of late not just dealing with HNDA.

Publishers all have varied opinions of the way forward, but seemed oblivious to the current trend can be challenged and beaten with the right thoughts of moving forward. The news that Publishers have now decided to charge for access to their own websites is news we all expected, probably not as quick but certainly one that was going to happen because it’s untenable to giving expensive news away for nothing.

Some publishers seem to have given up the fight, one stated we have 30 years left selling papers, another stated we have to face reality and move forward with the times that digital is the way forward, whilst some stated they are governed by others to make decisions that would be beneficial to all parties.

One publisher’s opinion of the HND newsagent was startling to say the least, when emphasising the importance of the HND newsagent to the publisher whereby irrespective of the recent weather conditions they have the luxury of knowing all the copies printed, delivered to the newsagent are sold with no wastage!

So what, said the publisher, you charge your customers delivery so if we didn’t print the paper you would have nothing to deliver so you would not have a business! Nor would the Wholesalers!

One some times comes to the conclusion of what’s the point! Why bother? If publishers employ staff with that opinion it’s no wonder the future of the news industry in the current decline!

Some publishers state there are less than ten thousand retailers offering HND, and publishers want to know why, and the answer is staring them in the face, yes HND newsagents need to have the flexibility with the delivery times with the news to suit their customers needs. We also need Publishers to underline this factor when continually failing to reach wholesalers cut off times, it works both ways but as usual Publishers are in their own little world.

Some publishers are totally oblivious to the outside world, they can see no further than their plush office buildings, irrespective what’s staring them in the face, it will take more than a royal baby to change the current trend, it needs publishers to wake up, sit up, and face up the current reality. Continue down the current trend many will be out of business sooner rather than later.

A classis example was shown last week, when the Telegraph media made a big splash announcing they have increase retailers payments on THIRD PARTY INSERTS, payments will rise from 4.3% to 4.5%, and that was achieved by working closely with the NFRN!

What planet are these people really on?  0.2% rise! It’s the Telegraph way of showing commitment of supporting the news trade!

It’s more like a spit in the wind!

This website recently criticized Richard Desmond and Express Newspapers over their ridiculous idea with the Saturday Daily Star, which has seen this website “hits” smashed on a daily basis, obviously the shock of reduced sales has not taken the effect to Desmond as yet, but no doubt Murdock at the Sun is rubbing his hands with joy with the sudden surge of Saturday sales, or is it a case now that multi millionaire Desmond has now shares in News International!

Talking of Murdock makes me cringe, but some fellow newsagents seem to have short memories, they are full of praise for the recent pro-rata increase on the weekend Suns, but seem to forget the hardship this man did to everyone when the News of the World closed down. Even the introduction of the Sunday Sun a year later was met with another kick in the teeth with terms of 11p profit, (Who else works on a Sunday for 11p?) this seems to have been forgotten by so many, all because of the latest pro-rata increase!

This publisher actually visited my Wisbech premises before Christmas after receiving the HNDA package was over enthusiastic with the contents, but like a few others lacked the professional ability to work in a manner expected from such a large organisation. No letter. No e-Mail, no communication what’s so ever, that’s the overall professionalism of the news trade, I can even say I have only ever received one letter from one publisher after meeting them at their London premises, and even they changed my surname name to Murphy!

Never mind, the news trade continues to defy the logic of sensibility; it will continue along to its eventual downfall unless some bright spark actually takes note of the ABC monthly figures. Let’s sincerely hope one publisher will stop waiting for another publisher to make the first move, before some one eventually realises the only way forward for the news trade Industry is to work with the professional HND newsagents and provide the service for a continued future of the morning read.

HNDA has landed, and is here for the journey no matter how long it may take, after all, it remains the only way forward for the News Trade Industry. You know that, I certainly know that!!

Brian Webb.

HATRED of the FIVE MINUTES RULE by the LOCAL PAPER!

“It just takes five minutes…”Its an impression that, although seemingly innocuous, used to drive so many people crazy.

You know how it is, you’re doing a hard enough job and then somebody in “management” decides to add to your workload by getting you to do something extra but for no extra money.

If you’re a waitress, you suddenly become a cleaner too because, “at the end of each night, its just takes five minutes to wipe down tables and run a mop over the floor.

If you’re a salesman working every hour on the road you suddenly become an accountant because “when you get in it just takes five minutes to input your figures…”

Before you know it you’ve got four different chores to do that you’re told takes that dreaded 300 seconds and yet you have the same five minutes to do them all in.

Are you allowed to finish early to get these things done? Well no. Are you paid extra or maybe even overtime? Take a wild guess.

Brian Webb isn’t like us, when we get wound up we just whine at you lot in this column and then get our heads down and take it from “The Man” like everyone else.

Brian does stuff. He actually gets things done and that dearest reader, is rare thing indeed.

Brian isn’t a politician, he’s not some sort of “dragon” at the head of a mult-national company, and he’s not a Mafia Don, He’s a HND Newsagent- We know, we was totally surprised too.

Brian’s beef is similar to my hatred to the “five minute rule”. He’s not being paid to deliver the advertising leaflets, flyers, booklet, pamphlets, brochures and inserts that tumble out of every publication in the world these days-so he’s decided not to deliver them.

In actual fact on Boxing day morning recently, he got up extra early (1.30am) and decided to takes four van loads of Argos literature from his warehouse to his local store, he blocked the doors fully and left Mr Argos a message reading; Happy Christmas Mr Argos! Question: Do you or your staff work for NOTHING? Because we Independent Newsagents DON’T! Good Morning!

The attitude of the publishers who get paid by the Advertiser for their literature to reach the consumers must be, “oh come on Brian, you’re already delivering the papers so, you know… while you’re at it… its only a couple of leaflets… it just takes five minutes extra”.

Brian once formed a Third Party Inserts Group (possibly known as TPIG- we preferred it to be the Fight Against Third Party Inserts Group, but whatever its called Brian has a large warehouse half full with removed Inserts.

Now you might be thinking that Brian has made his stand, buts its still hardly rocking the world of Publishing to its foundations, but every Publisher knows Brian Webb wont go away and will eventually win the day for every HND Newsagent.

The Publishers also know Brian does his stuff;

Last time he had a beef about having to constantly take his seat belt off every time he stopped whilst delivering newspapers to his customers, he took the matter to the high court in LONDON, and in 1983 he succeeded in getting law changed so every HND newsagent could join the milkman and postman being exempt from wearing belts. Impressive? It should be, the cost run into thousands, but according to Brian victory was a small price to pay!

So what’s in store for Third Party Inserts, well Brian who once wrote to the Prime Minister George Brown when he was the Country’s leader, has now contacted current PM David Cameron and brought this issue to his attention. Brian believes going to the top, and expects results in Newsagents favour very shortly.

Brian’s latest adventure in the news trade is also very interesting; Brian recently formed a new limited company named HNDA, (Home News Delivery Affiliation) with the sole objectives in representing the top 500 HND Newsagents in the Country. Brian believes the Publishers and Wholesalers are NOT working together with the Professional HND Newsagents, and unless the situation changes the news trade will continue down the slippery slope. Brian believes its time for a change before it’s too late! Who’s betting against Brian to be successful, certainly NOT us!

In the meantime, back to the undelivered TPI!

We are pretty sure it wont be long before Brian and his fellow newsagents will be getting what is rightfully theirs, Maybe we should all make a stand next time someone expects us to donate our precious minutes to unpaid work. Well. All right maybe we should just all get together and pay Brian to do it for us- after-all, it’ll only take five minutes!

HNDA The new home for Professional HND Newsagents

It’s disappointing to report but it’s a known fact there is currently no organisation around today that represents the elite Professional HND Newsagent retailer whose main income is from Home News Delivery.

“Professional Newsagents” now numbering only a few thousand, are the people who are fully committed to provide a professional service to their customers who offer an easy and convenient access to all newspapers and magazines.

The news trade has an organisation that was first set up many years ago to represent all newsagents in working with the Publishers and Wholesalers in the Industry, but today they spend more time with retailers whose interest in newspapers is only peripheral. This organisation is solely forgetting about the main focus within the news trade, which was looking after the professional HND newsagent member.

ENTER HNDA Ltd, the new organisation for the professional HND newsagents, whose main objectives is to reward all HND newsagents with “Preferential Terms” and represent its members in all matters relating to the news trade with Publishers and Wholesalers, in a manner never witnessed before.

HNDA is NOT in competition with any other trade body, this new organisation is for the top 500 professional HND newsagents, and we can confirm we intend to work with the National Publishers Association and the Press Distribution Forum, NOT against them.

Publishers and Wholesalers are attempting to stop HNDA from moving forward, its clear to see they are tarred with the same greedy brush, but HNDA is here for the journey and will move the earth to see HND newsagents are rewarded financially for the work involved in Home News Delivery.

The News Industry recognise the importance of HND Newsagents, and the “firm sale” guaranteed copy, and whilst it’s not entirely their own fault the Publisher has been allowed for years to put their heads in the sand, simply because there has never been an alternative organisation representing these elite band of enterpreneurs, the HND Newsagents. Now every Publisher has the opportunity to address this situation with the introduction of HNDA Ltd, and working together is the only way forward for all parties.

The current atrocious weather conditions should open the eyes of every Publisher, here we have a situation that despite the fact many ROYAL MAIL depots banned their workers from deliveries for “Health and Safety” measures, every HND newsagent completed their journey EVERYDAY.

Such is the dedication of these Newsagents who brought their HND business as their main income. These professional Newsagents deserve the terms that have been taken away from them over the years, and HNDA will eventually deliver. WATCH THIS SPACE:

For further details see the HNDA website; www.hnda.org.uk

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HNDA enters the News Trade!

NFRN Endorse the New

Home News Delivery Affiliation (HNDA)

In the recent NFRN publication – Retail Newsagent (RN) – Paul Baxter, on behalf of the NFRN, chose to comment on and endorse the recently launched Home News Delivery Affiliation – HNDA.

RN describes the new Association as a buying group for Home News Delivery newsagents and current intensive negotiations with newspaper publishers have moved forward positively with publishers eager to work with an organisation – the HNDA –  that represents newsagents that directly deliver to both homes and businesses.

Gross newspaper margins that turn the clock back over 20 years are on the table for HNDA members and are being achieved through a new innovative approach with publishers and wholesalers. The HNDA are fully aware that Home News Delivery represents the backbone of newspaper circulation here in the UK. Personalities and politics that have got in the way of progressive newsagent agreements with publishers during the past few years will NOT be the approach of the HNDA. Quality HND newsagent members will get access to improved margins only through the HNDA in future.

Baxter of the NFRN states that publishers see the strategic importance of Home News Delivery. The HNDA have emerged to re-energise and re- connect newsagents with their supply chain so that newspaper circulation can recover spearheaded by Home News Delivery.

The current trend of the News Trade has Publishers concerned of the slow slide of the daily copy, and they know the importance of the HND Newsagent, irrespective of our current weather conditions they know their sold copy will be delivered to the readers.

HNDA, was formed by News Trade experience people to represent the top 500 HND Newsagents in the Country, this elite group of Professional Newsagents whose main revenue is from Home News Delivery, and every Publisher knows these Newsagents provides the service that will remain the forefront of the News Trade Industry survival.

Please leave your details via the website so that you can be part of this revolution in newspaper profitability.

 

Contact the HNDA on 0800 999 3227

Email: admin@hnda.org.uk

Website: www.hnda.org.uk

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Mail Newspapers sticking the Knife in!

Many Independent Home News Delivery Newsagents from all over the Country have been to London on Monday March 19th or to Leeds the following day to witness Mail Newspapers intentions to work with the Independent agents with the intention of working together to increase   sales which ultimately benefit both parties.

All seems the right way forward for the struggling news trade, with this publisher showing the other publishers working with their partners (the Independent retailer) is the only way forward.

However, many Newsagents could not spare the time to attend these semimars, what ever the reason that’s a dissappointment when publishers are making the effort to work together.

However, it appears Mail Newspapers have too many personells, for whilst these meeting were taking place to work with Independent HND agents, some bright spark upstairs in head office was killing the meetings stone dead by organising another gimmock with McColls by offering FREE Mail newspapers to every customer.

One newsagent reported losing three customers for one week simply because they could get a Daily Mail free from the McColls shop all week. According to both McColl’s and Mail Newspapers these papers are not FREE, the deal is that any McColls customer spendimg 55p in the shop were entitled to a Mail newspaper FREE Vof charge!.

A shocked Mail official stated on Monday its a classic case of the left foot NOT knowing what the other one is doing, but what do you expect from the big boys upstairs, NO BRAINS!

Certainly doesn’t give any newsagent the confidence that Mail Newspapers are trying to work together, when behind their backs the same company is giving papers away which will undoubtedly harm the Independent retailer. 

 

Publishers KILLING the TRADE!

PUBLISHERS are KILLING the

 NEWS TRADE INDUSTRY!

 The recently audited National Newspaper figures for January were released a few days ago which more than confirmed the continued growing concerns the News Trade Industry is dying faster than at first imagine, with every Newspaper losing sales and the finger is firmly pointing in the direction of the National Publishers.

 

Over the past three years the overall percentage downfall is a staggering decline of 8%, and still Publishers are performing in a manner of total incompetence which is destroying the news trade industry dead.

 

Newsinsider, remembers very vividly one newsagent making his maiden speech at a NFRN National Conference meeting in Torquay some ten years ago when the concerned gentleman told the News World that the News Trade Industry was not a boxing match, its three parties (Publishers, Wholesalers and the NFRN) who have to work together or eventually everyone would suffer which would have devastating effects to the news trade in general.

 

Well that day has arrived the trade is digging a bigger hole everyday simply because this barbaric “Hitler” action by Publishers has been allowed to continue, and to honest some of this blame is pointed in our direction for allowing the NFRN to remain “gutless” instead of representing the paying membership in a professional manner expected of a organisation.

 

The situation still remains to this present day, but continues to deteriorate simply because the Publishers have the same old senior “Pillocks” .sitting behind the office desk in their plush buildings oblivious to the outside world believing they are “God” to the trade but in reality their brains have been removed from the heads years ago!

 

This was no more highlighted this weekend when News Internationals Rupert Murdock steam rolled a new Sunday Paper on the market namely the SUN to replace the disgraced News of the World.

 

Here we have another situation when the publisher by passed the NFRN simply because the federation is no longer recognised within the news trade and Murdock brought in the new newspaper on the market at the ridiculous low  price of 50p  giving the retailer a poultry 11p profit.

 

Not satisfied with this move, he also decided to take another 2p from the retailer profits by reducing the Saturday edition of the Sun by 10p, again this decision was made by Murdock with the obnoxious attitude of STUFF “U” NEWSAGENTS take it or leave it!

 

Any new newspaper should be a blessing in disguise for the whole trade, but this 50p effort from Murdock could do serious damage to other publishers, many retailers report huge returns for the Sunday Mirror, People, and Sunday Star. 

 

 

The Sunday News trade lost a staggering 40% when the News of the World ceased publication, and although other publishers had sales increases not one publisher had the “balls” to carry the fight just merely went through the motions of providing inadequate newspapers that lacked value for money.

 

Another major issue at present is the continuing growing times that Publishers fail to reach the wholesalers before the cut off times that leads to dreaded re-runs.

 

One Newsagent informed this website today that the Mirror was late again yet again which was the 4th time in February alone, it was also stated that the Star had failed twice and the Sun once in 2012. Reports from all over the Country have similar stories but the question is why?

 

Re-runs don’t affect Wholesalers simply because they get paid by the offending publishers, but it’s a huge expense for Newsagents especially those operating home news delivery. It’s known that one newsagent has taken steps to take his wholesaler to court; the final outcome could cost wholesalers a fortune providing the newsagent wins the day.

 

We hear all these reports of Publishers spending millions on the latest up to date new presses, Richard Desmond from Northern Shell publishers of the Express and Star, the combined total of these two papers is a mere 1.3 million copies a day, so why the expense on such a low print run, that still can’t reach the wholesalers on time!

 

Whilst on the subject of Northern Shell, here is a publisher who sends a letter to retailers at the weekend thanking everyone for their continued support on the news of reducing our profits on the Saturday Star by 11p per copy!

 

This is the same publisher who recently pushed the combined Saturday Express and Star in a polybag saving 50p, only set back the publisher cannot supply wholesalers with the needed copies! One newsagent stated in the last six weeks they have only received the polybag specials ONCE!

 

The news trade is going down hill faster than expected, and it will continue unless the Publishers finally decide that working together is the only way forward for all concerned. It’s time for everyone to face facts, continue as we are and we will all be out of business sooner rather than later especially working on a Sunday for a measly 11p!

 

Again here we have a Publisher who is demonstrating his power to the working Newsagent but before much longer this action will eventually backfire in his face when every Newsagent will say enough is enough.

 

One week later it appears the new Sunday Sun readers are not so keen after all, with many angry with the current goings on at News International and all the latest revelations of the phone hacking business that has rocked the Country have decided to not have a Sunday newspaper after all.

News International brings in the SUNDAY SUN (Feb 26th 2012)

It’s been on the cards that ever since the News of the World ceased publication that News International would bring in the Sunday SUN, and the recent events of the phone hacking scandal which led to a number of NI staff being arrested owner Rupert Murdoch flew into London to announce the arrival of the new Sunday newspaper. This assured the  worried employees the SUN newspaper was safe and the future looked more rock solid than in previous months.

Newsagents around the country have reacted in a positive manner, and despite the anger of so many over the phone hacking business many have backed tracked to offer News International full support of this new Sunday Sun newspaper.

News International informed News-insider today Wednesday Feb 22nd that no price had been fixed yet on the Sunday Sun, but when this had been decided the news trade would be the first to hear, which we find very alarming to say the least. One worried publisher also inform us the first edition may be 60p moving to a POUND the following week, but as yet everyone including NI seems to be in limbo on a matter that quite honestly should have been the first item on the agenda.

Without any doubt since the News of the World shut the doors the Sunday trade has fallen by 40%, with so many people simply not buying a alternative newspaper to read which has hit newsagents big time, hopefully this new newspaper will bridge that gap that will benefit everyone within the trade.

Some publishers have been recently gloating over their Sunday sales increase over the past twelve months, some have sat on their laurels and done little to capture the News of the World readers, and now they will regret letting the grass grow under their feet, for the Sunday Sun will certainly hit them all.

The biggest disappointment has been the Sunday Star, here was a newspaper that should have made major gains on a permanent basis, but after a bright start fell back into the syndrome of producing a alter thin newspaper with a free magazine which certainly lacked the value for money tag.

Only last weekend the Sunday Star sent Newsagents a letter with the headlines PRICE DECREASE, the Sunday paper would come down ONE PENCE to 99p, and even better news Newsagents would still get the same terms as if the paper was the normal one pound! What planet is this person on? What was the point of reducing the paper 1p? Is the person responsible for this decision brain dead? more importantly has he/she had their P45’s yet?

What ever happens in the weeks to come is anyone’s business, but its pleasing to note that most newsagents are very happy that the news trade can look forward to a brighter more profitable weekends than in recent months.

 

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