By Leon Gettler >>
WITH NEWSPAPERS closing down print editions in favour of online – or just closing down – more newsagents are becoming retailers, even opening coffee shops.
Ben Kearney, the CEO of the Australian Lottery and Newsagents Association (ALNA), Australia’s national industry body for the newsagent industry said this is becoming the way of the future.
He said the newspaper was now struggling with its margins, which affects the increases that the newsagents are able to get.
He said when he started in the industry 10 years ago, he thought the situation with newspapers and media would have a more serious enormous impact.
“What I’ve realised is they’re more resilient as retailers than I had expected,” Mr Kearney told Talking Business.
“There is no doubt that traditional print media is a big challenge and will be an ongoing challenge for news agency businesses, but what we have seen is our members have certainly demonstrated a capacity to diversify their business and change their business model to adapt to that loss in revenue from those traditional print products.”
He said most of those that are succeeding have moved strongly into the area of gift products.
“If they’re succeeding, they’re outcompeting their local toy store, they’re outcompeting their local gift store, they’re introducing hybrid models,” Mr Kearney said.
He said a number of newsagents had opened coffee shops in their stores as part of the newsagency.
“We have seen some that are newsagents/bookshops, we have examples of newsagent/pharmacy,” he said.
“The retailers that are succeeding are just becoming better retailers.”
Mr Kearney said the media was changing its models and newsagents were hoping to work with media companies to develop partnerships,
He said there was scope for newspapers to get back to working closer with their communities which would see them working with newsagents.
“Newspapers have become far more a commoditized product. There is an appetite in communities for longer form journalism, particularly when it relates to communities,” Mr Kearney said.
He said the ALNA was now conducting research at the University of Technology Sydney on how to leverage the traditional newsagent’s role as a community hub for news.
“The thing that has kept news agents resilient to a degree, and one of the things we do really well – particularly in local communities – is that we sell basic human interaction,” he said.
Hear the complete interview and catch up with other topical business news on Leon Gettler’s Talking Business podcast, released every Friday at www.acast.com/talkingbusiness.