Newsstand stand-off at PPA debate

Publishers must adapt to the needs of the big supermarkets, retailers told the magazine industry this week, as both sides drew up wish-lists for the future of magazines on the newsstand.

In the debate at the PPA conference on Tuesday, Tesco’s chief buyer of magazines and newspapers warned publishers to think more about the realities of the supermarket shelf, while IPC publishing director Eric Fuller said stores must work harder to sell shoppers "the excitement of the magazine".

Fuller, who was responsible for the launch of Nuts and the relaunch of Loaded, unveiled pictures of an unnamed high-street retailer, which had hidden its newsstand away under an escalator, "guarded by a rack of dusty baskets".

"I’d like to see some imagination in the way stores sell magazines," he told Tesco buyer David Cooke, saying publishers were working on widescreen TVs designed to display flickable digital editions of magazines on the newsstand.

But Cooke told delegates: "Everybody should be concentrating on what they are doing, not just on the reader, but on how the customer is shopping.

"You have to think about whether exciting marketing ideas will be delivered by the people there, working in the stores on just above minimum wage."

Sarah Miller, editor of Condé Nast Traveller, said magazines should be sold alongside related products, for example, suntan lotion and olive oil for travel magazines.

And Comag’s marketing director, Steve Campbell, criticised publishers for not doing enough to market their product to shoppers.

He said: "All industries in the world do things to raise awareness of their products, whether it’s prunes or water. We have World Book Day to encourage more people to read.

"I would say just do it. There are lots of groups who meet and meet and meet, and go on to other meetings, we would like someone to do something, it may not be the right thing, but it would be nice to see something happen."

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