Owning distribution

Important Chart

Lots of people email us here at Newspaper Club Towers and they always remark what fun we must be having. Let’s shatter that myth now. For example this week we have been staring at spreadsheets and meeting people to thrash out a pricing, delivery and fulfillment strategy.

This is the stuff successful businesses are made of. Trust us, we’ve been told this lots of times this week.

You may think supply chain management is boring (we do) but it’s essential. It’s non trivial, in fact. It involves calculations and spreadsheets, it involves actual numbers and actual weights and actual prices rather than just guesswork and theory.

Fulfillment, logistics and supply chain management meeting

But we’ve made some serious progress this week. The pricing for our launch products has been agreed and we should be able to announce that in 10 days time. We’ve created a logistics system we’re comfortable with and we have a distribution solution that will work smoothly. That means we can sell you a product and deliver it to your door effortlessly and cost effectively. That’s the stuff CRM legends are made of.

We’ve also spoken to some corporate clients and we’ve met with some new and exciting newspaper printers.

But this quote was probably the most thought provoking bit of the week, “There are lots of things that have never been done with print before, just because nobody has ever bothered too ask.”

Slowly it’s all coming together.

Posted by Ben | Comments (6)

Filed under: fulfillment etc, printers

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  1. Fri, 9 Oct 2009 at 10:27 pm
    John Permalink

    Designery green ink is frowned upon in the business world Ben but don’t let that worry you.

  2. Sat, 10 Oct 2009 at 9:46 am
    tom mcgowran Permalink

    I can across your project today and thought it very interesting. Two things I would note. A 12 page paper cannot be financially viable as it cannot contain enough advertising to pay for the overheads. Even 16 pages with an ad ratio of 60+ % is unlikely to break even. Also you need to have a decent circulation for advertisers to wish to advertise and get response. So the minimum is going to be around 10,000 copies of a 16 page paper. Advertisers will require colour and this is really only viable printing above 3,000 copies.
    Digital presses are ok up to 5,000 copies but the cost is very high and does not reduce with quantity.
    The market being what it is today will dictate if you can find enough revenue to get off the ground. You need to have a very good reason for advertisers to buy space to finance your paper – no one is likely to buy copies of the paper unless you have a very special niche in the market. So circulation will not bring in any revenue. That means that distribution will be a cost to you also. Will it be door to door, give away or posted?

  3. Sat, 10 Oct 2009 at 7:55 pm
    John Cronin Permalink

    @Tom But some people might not want a newspaper of just a few pages to include revenue earning ads. I might for instance want to print a promotional newspaper for my hyperlocal site to use as a promotional tool.


  4. Mon, 12 Oct 2009 at 9:33 pm
    james Permalink

    saw this and thought, “that’s nice, must send it to newspaper club.” so here it is: http://www.ladybirdprints.com/category.php?catid=6751

  5. Tue, 13 Oct 2009 at 5:54 pm
    Russell Permalink

    Thanks for the comments all (and we must get that ladybird book, that’ll tell us how to do it).

    Tom, you’ve hit on the nub of a big problem there for us. If people only think of a ‘newspaper’ as being a thing composed of news and ads then the economics are probably as you describe.

    Our big task will be to remind/inspire people to realise that there are way more things you can do with newsprint and ink.

    John cites a good example above, or, we had someone get in touch today who wants to produce a celebratory newspaper for their Dad’s 50th birthday. Community groups, clubs, societies, all those sorts of people might try and get a bit of advertising to offset some of their costs but for the most part, we assume, will be thinking of this as a cheap but elegant way of getting their content printed. They’re not going into the eyeballs business, they want to make a newspaper, and they’ll pay for it in whatever way makes sense to them. All the papers we’ve made so far have made economic sense to their makers, none of them have carried ads. (Except house ads for us.)

    The newspaper/advertising market is in serious decline. We’re trying to sidestep that, we’re not getting involved.

    Similarly, we’ll leave final delivery to them as well – a club might distribute to members at a meeting, a community group might find some volunteers to do door-to-door, a protest group might hand them out in the street. Newspapers we’ve done to date have been distributed in a variety of ways – handed out at pubs and festivals, distributed through corporate internal mail and sent in the post.

    Hope that makes some sense. Your comment is much appreciated – clearly we need to explain ourselves better and set expectations properly.

  6. Fri, 16 Oct 2009 at 10:39 am
    Marcus Permalink

    Hello you lot. I feel your pain. I know your pain but I have a feeling that your doing just fine.

    Well done.

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