Home delivery of newspapers may be at risk due to their increasing weight and the number of supplements and inserts they contain.
Steve Denham, who runs a post office and newsagents in West Chiltington, West Sussex, writes the Village Postmaster blog, in which he chronicles the weights of daily newspapers and how many advertising inserts he has to put in each copy.
‘I understand that publishers need advertising,’he said. ‘There is a circulation decline and they have to be more efficient at bringing in that income stream.
‘If newspapers believe home delivery is important they need to support home delivery businesses in a much better way then they do – we’ve got to make a profit out of this.”
Press Gazette has learned that Brixham Wine Cellars in Devon, which runs a newspaper delivery service, has stopped delivering Sunday papers because they are too large to carry.
In a letter to customers, the shop’s owners wrote: ‘It is with great regret that we write to inform you we will no longer be delivering Sunday newspapers.This is due to the number of supplements that have to be inserted in the papers each week, and the health of the paper boys and girls.”
Meanwhile, the National Federation of Retail Newsagents told Press Gazette that the payment newsagents receive for inserting supplements into papers – they arrive separately – has been a ‘meagre’2p for 25 years.
NFRN trade relations manager David Daniel said: ‘The payment rate for manually inserting sections and supplements into newspapers has been a sore issue with newsagents for years.
‘The standard 2p per insert has gone unchanged since it was introduced in 1982 and, in most newsagents’ opinion, falls woefully short of the cost associated with providing this service to publishers.”
The NFRN has lobbied publishers for an increase in the rate for manual newspaper insertions, but this has so far been rejected.
Daniel did single out Mirror Group Newspaper and the Independent News and Media for treating newsagent more fairly, describing them as ‘notable exceptions”.