Saturday, September 29, 2007

Agents baulk at paper weights

Agents baulk at paper weights Font Size:
By Sally Jackson

THE weightiness of the The West Australian -- in grams, that is, not gravitas -- is one of a long list of issues the Australian Newsagents' Federation wants to discuss with publisher West Australian Newspapers.

ANF chief executive Rayma Creswell said some editions of the paper were so heavy that home-delivering them had become an occupational health and safety hazard.

"Newsagents are not meant to be throwing papers that weigh more than 600g and they're throwing papers weighing 1.2kg," Ms Creswell said. "If we're throwing a very large paper after the population is out of bed, all of us are at risk."

One option may be to split big papers into more sections, she said. "We're not saying create a paper that is specifically designed for us, but we are saying it is an issue."

Last week ANF was given the green light by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to collectively bargain on behalf of about 380 newsagents in WA, despite objections from WAN, the Australasian Association of Convenience Stores and the Queensland Newsagents Federation.

The notification is in addition to one put in place in 2004 and lasts for three years. It does not compel WAN to enter into a collective negotiation and chief executive Ken Steinke said the company would not do so.

"We don't have any problem with the ANF contributing ideas, but we're not seeing them as a collective bargaining agent," Mr Steinke said.

"We have individual contracts with individual distributors ... We start from a different premise (than the ANF): what is in the best interests of our customers. We wouldn't do anything that would see costs increase to our customers or our services decrease."

ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said allowing the newsagents to collectively bargain did not reduce WAN's ability to negotiate individual agreements. "There are a number of features of the arrangement which limit the potential for anti-competitive impact, including the respective bargaining positions of Western Australian newsagents and WAN," Mr Samuel said.

"Additionally, the arrangement is voluntary and does not involve potential boycotts."

The ANF said it "reserves its right to use the collective boycott provision in a further notification should the current collective negotiations fail".

"Collective boycott would be a last resort and it isn't what we seek at all. But if people are walking away from their businesses they have nothing to lose," Ms Creswell said. "This would be an opportune moment to sit down (with WAN) in a positive way, as we currently do with Fairfax and News Limited (publisher of The Australian)."

Ms Creswell said other issues the ANF wanted to discuss included delivery fees, co-ordinating promotional activities and the timeliness of deliveries to newsagents.

Mr Steinke said he would be concerned by any suggestion of a collective boycott. "It would have huge implications for our customers," he said.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Next EmailWhy Twitter will change the way business communicates (again).

The Next EmailWhy Twitter will change the way business communicates (again).

From: Issue 118 | September 2007 | Page 72 | By: Robert Scoble André Metzger and Andrio Abero
Hard to believe that only 10 or 15 years ago we interacted with coworkers and colleagues with memos and phone calls. Email and instant messaging changed all that. Now there's a new communications revolution coming. These services mix contacts, instant messaging, blogging, and texting, and they're poised to make email feel as antiquated as the mimeograph.

The best known of the new services is Twitter. Since its debut last spring, it has been one of the fastest-growing apps in the history of the Internet. The best way to describe it is as a microblog service in which you tell people what you're doing or thinking at any given moment. The hook is that you're limited to 140 characters. "It's strangely addictive," says NBC videographer Jim Long. "Evidently, people are interested in what I'm doing, and I genuinely care about what they're doing."

Twitter's basic idea has proven so popular that others have copied its premise and added features. Jaiku lets me include blog posts, my link blog, and more along with my mini posts. Pownce users can send files to one another, as well as calendar events. At Facebook, I can add such information as my favorite music and the syndicated Web feeds I've shared in Google Reader.

All this adds up to a new way to share information about yourself. Although the content of the messages can vary wildly from voyeuristically interesting to terribly dull, a frequent stream of updates can strengthen your brand. My 4,000-plus Twitter "followers" can get my blasts online or via text message, and each one is also its own Web page, which means that Google can see it and let people search for it. When you're traveling frequently and working from coffeehouses or the backseat of a cab, these services are great to keep in touch with coworkers back at the office and with customers nearby. "I post where I travel and arrange user meetups," says Betsy Weber, an evangelist with software firm TechSmith.

The professional intimacy these services create--hey, if you know someone's whereabouts and musical tastes, you're halfway home--can also win you clients. "People won't do business with you until they like you or have a sense of trust," says Cathryn Hrudicka, a consultant who uses Facebook, Jaiku, and Twitter. She has already gotten referrals from people she has met online because she has shown she'll be available when clients need her.

Sales and marketing are lagging in seeing the potential here. When I used all these services to tell the world that my wife and I were expecting a child in September, I anticipated hearing from the world's largest consumer-products companies begging me to try their latest diapers, food, car seats, and financial instruments. What came back? Nothing. Where was Procter & Gamble? Given what it and other companies spend acquiring new customers, there's an untapped gold mine in Twitter and Facebook because we're volunteering so much information about what we're doing right now, whether it's working on a project or eating a chicken-salad sandwich. Learning how to tap it correctly--both to sell to me directly and in seeing major trends in the millions of daily public posts--will be the next major challenge for these companies.

If we revisit this conversation again in three years, I suspect that we'll have found all sorts of little uses for these services, and they'll simply become what email is today: something we must do just to participate in the heartbeat of business.

Robert Scoble is an influential video podcast pioneer and blogger following the tech industry. Watch him at and read him at For a video podcast of this column and daily "Best of the Tech Web," go to


Saturday, September 01, 2007

Mag Bag: 'Inc.' Site Expands List Of Savvy Companies

Mag Bag: 'Inc.' Site Expands List Of Savvy Companies
by Erik Sass, Friday, Aug 31, 2007 7:15 AM ET
Inc. Site Expands List Of Savvy Companies

Inc. magazine's Web site is expanding its traditional print list of 500 tenfold online, with its first publication of the "Inc. 5,000." Leveraging the unlimited publishing capabilities of the Internet, Inc. Online is highlighting a slew of companies that wouldn't make it onto the print list--but still deserve recognition for innovative strategies or eye-catching products.

The magazine's Web site is also set to launch a social-network-type exchange for private businesses, called, due out in October.

The Inc. initiative follows the announcement in May by McGraw Hill's BusinessWeek that it is partnering with Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's, to launch a Company Insight Center hosted on the magazine's Web site. The new online content area will triple the size of the BusinessWeek site. Information and analysis will cover companies, industries, markets and leaders.

Other business publications are moving to more digital content as well--a shift signaled, for example, by the promotion of Vivek Shah to president of Time Inc.'s Business and Finance network, which includes Fortune, Money, Business 2.0 and Fortune Small Business. Shah was previously head of digital publishing for the network.

Deloitte & Touche Debuts Deloitte Review

Deloitte & Touche is preparing to launch a new high-end business periodical for senior executives, called the Deloitte Review. The twice-yearly Review will feature "unique" business information and commentary, including articles on strategic trends and best practices. It will also offer business insights from Deloitte's partners, principals, and directors. Stephen Wagner, Partner, Deloitte & Touche USA LLP and executive editor of Deloitte Review, says each issue will offer "guidance and reference points that a C-suite executive can put to use today, and still use years from now." The magazine has an online presence at

Bonnier To Relaunch Resorts & Great Hotels

Bonnier Corp. says it will relaunch Resorts & Great Hotels, an aspirational magazine covering high-end luxury travel, as a quarterly. The relaunched publication should have a distribution of 100,000, with a newsstand price of $6.99 and a subscription price of $15.99. The first issue should hit the stands on January 15.

Guilfoyle Moves From Rachael Ray to Women's Wear Daily

Christine Guilfoyle, the founding publisher of Every Day with Rachael Ray, is leaving the Reader's Digest Association to take up the role of publisher at Conde Nast's Women's Wear Daily. Guilfoyle's departure is the latest personnel shake-up at RDA, which has seen several execs exit since its acquisition by Ripplewood Holdings, a private equity firm. Mary Berner was named the new president and CEO of RDA this spring.

BusinessWeek Publisher Dodge Exits

Geoff Dodge is leaving his role as senior vice president and publisher of BusinessWeek for a new position at, which specializes in customer-relationship management.

Media Week sued by mag giant

Media Week sued by mag giant
31 August 2007

By Sarah Limbrick

Magazine publisher Hachette Filipacchi (UK) and chief executive Kevin Hand are suing Haymarket Media for libel damages.

The legal battle centres around a story in Media Week magazine in April, headed “Hachette faces an uncertain future”.

Hachette and Hand claim the story was defamatory, and are seeking unlimited damages, as well as aggravated damages, from its publishers - Haymarket. They are also suing over the website version of the story.

And they are seeking an injunction banning repetition of the allegations made in the story.

The story, which has now been taken down, was about the departure of the general manager of the company's women's division, Julie Harris.