NFRN summit calls for greater collaboration to promote newspapers

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A news summit organised by the NFRN has urged the industry to work collaboratively to promote the category.

Worth a whopping £1.7 billion, there is still a bright future for the newspaper category, the summit attended by leading newspaper publishers and news wholesalers has heard.

It highlighted opportunities around retail subscriptions and home news delivery, and that more help was required from all sides of the industry for independent retailers who were new to news.

The summit, held on 16 February at offices of Telegraph Media Group, discussed the sustainability of the supply chain and some of the challenges facing independent newsagents, including retail payments, delivery times, carriage charges and the merits of cut off extensions.

NFRN members shared experiences around the handling and returns processes for vouchers, and publishers and wholesalers agreed to look in the principles of making these paperless.

It was also deemed important to create one database of home news delivery retailers and to ensure the data was refreshed regularly.

Accepting that bunching and late newspapers impacted negatively on the service to stores, publishers and wholesalers said they would explore ways of using technology for live updates.

Working groups comprising representatives from all three sectors will now be set up to progress these initiatives. The participants at the summit also decided to meet in six months’ time for an update from the working groups.

Speaking after the summit, NFRN National President Narinder Randhawa said: “Buying a newspaper is still one of the key reasons for customers to come into our members’ stores, so it is important that the printed word survives and thrives. But it is equally important that independent retailers get the level of service that they deserve.

“I am pleased that we were able to get key colleagues from publishing and news wholesaling in one room for such a positive discussion and that all attendees expressed a willingness to work to work together to safeguard the future of the printed word.”

Smiths News chief executive Jon Bunting said: “It was a really constructive meeting where we focused on the things that both unite us and also where we have differing perspectives. Importantly, we all left with a common understanding of the areas we will look to tackle first.”

The news summit was attended by senior executives from Telegraph Media Group, News UK, Reach, DMGT, Smiths News and Menzies Distribution.