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.