If I were a more fair minded person, I’d stop picking on this particular retailer. But this week, I was presented with a trifecta of bad. Perhaps even St. Thomas Aquinas would have had trouble holding back.
I can be fair though. It’s my understanding that certain union rules keep the local wholesaler’s merchandiser from setting up the store. For those of us in the business who would then counter with, “Well, why doesn’t the route manager go in and work with the store merchandiser and manager”? Good question. My guess is that that has happened. Probably a few times.
In keeping with this week’s calendar, there’s only so much even St. Jude can do.
In other news:
I was hopeful last week that we were going to evade the latest round of ABC Audit reports with minimal breathless reporting on the certain demise of newsstand industry. Clearly, I had been spending too much time on the port side of the foredeck admiring the waves.
Audience Development Magazine published a column from former Ziff Davis VP of Circulation, Baird Davis that suggests that “the newsstand is nearing endangered species status”!
Still? Aren’t we dead yet?
Of course, this was picked up and distributed by Bo Sacks.
Davis does point out many disturbing trends in the latest round of ABC numbers. And it is helpful to have that staring at you in black and white. But for those of us who work on the front lines, it’s nothing new. We already knew, and the people we report to already know, and the people we work with in all avenues and all channels of the marketplace are aware.
Which doesn’t mean he shouldn’t or can’t report on what he reports on. It’s just that there’s little here that is new or helpful.
Like many people who have reported on it, Davis suggests that the recent purchase of Comag, the formerly joint national distribution venture of Hearst and Conde Nast by national magazine wholesaler, The News Group could be a positive thing. He and others have suggested that it may bridge the divides in our business and lead to better channel cooperation. Maybe between News Group and Comag. But I have yet to hear a serious explanation of how this will solve our industry problems.
Publisher’s consultant Linda Ruth, also an Audience Development Magazine columnist makes a more interesting and perhaps correct assertion that “on one level we have a massive paradigm shift here, on another it’s business as usual.”
The article wraps up with a call to our industry leaders, especially the largest publishers such as Conde Nast, Hearst, Time/Warner and others, to work together to solve the “dangerously viral” condition of the newsstand industry.
I must confess that I often make this clarion call myself. While I am alone in my office. With the dog out of earshot. And then I come to a “Full Stop”.
How do we get the major circulation directors of the major publishers into a room to decide the fate of a multi billion dollar industry? Moreover, do they have the right to determine the fate for all of the participants in that industry? Can I be assured that the end result will be fair to the smaller, frequently still profitable players in the business?
On the other hand, please remove your chocolate bunny dump bin from Aisle 3. Thank you. Oh, and take those green beach balls with you too.