Newsagents seeking meetings with newspaper publishers to raise several issues of concern

MEETINGS with newspaper and magazine publishers are being sought by the representative body for newsagents, which is concerned how much money members are receiving, among several issues of concern.

The National Federation of Retail Newsagents is also seeking meetings with newspaper and magazine wholesalers, asking, it says, “for support in recognising the important contribution that independent shops make within the news industry”.

Face-to-face meetings are being sought during the remainder of this year, to discuss, for instance, the margin newsagents make on each copy of a newspaper or magazine sold.

The NFRN president, Alan Smith, is quoted in a media release issued by the organisation, as saying: “The independent [newsagents] sector is an enormously important channel for newspapers and magazines and we believe has a real potential to play a key part in reversing the worrying decline of the industry if the right conditions can be put in place.

“We have written to publishers and wholesalers setting out the key areas that impact on independent newsagents, highlighting the concerns of our membership and suggesting change.

“We now look forward to engaging positively with all parties on the issues raised in our policy document and to working with them to find solutions.”

Issues of concern include:

Falls in the percentage margin paid per copy of a newspaper or magazine sold, sometimes to leave newsagents no worse or better off, in absolute terms, when the cover price of a publication goes up.

The payment to newsagents for inserting supplements into the main section of a newspaper. The NRFN says it is 2p for every supplement (and only for those newspapers sold, rather than those supplied) and it has been that since 1982. It says it wants the payment to increase to at least 3p.

Late delivery of morning newspapers and magazines to newsagents can wreak havoc to a newsagent’s home delivery service, plus early morning custom. Big, late-evening football matches, for instance, can push a delivery time back and the NFRN says delivery times have not been reviewed within the industry for many years.

The service from wholesalers, particularly crediting for unsold, returned newspapers and credits for vouchers.