Netlink snatches Fairfax business, assumes top distribution dog position

There’s now one big dominant player in New Zealand’s magazine distribution scene after CourierPost, Fairfax Media NZ and Netlink announced a new partnership, which kicks in from 1 July. 

Fairfax were far and away Gordon and Gotch’s biggest client, so with Netlink now adding Fairfax to ACP and a good chunk of APN’s business, G&G will now be languishing as a distant second (certainly for local magazine publishers, although it’s still pretty strong with overseas titles).

“These strong [Fairfax] brands complement our existing portfolio of market-leading titles and further solidify Netlink’s position as the leading magazine distribution and circulation services company in New Zealand,” says Edwards. “We are also pleased to extend our long term relationship with CourierPost, using their scalable and flexible network to manage all our transport throughout New Zealand. Working in partnership with Fairfax, our existing clients and our magazine retailers opens further opportunities for innovation in the magazine category.”

Not surprisingly, Edwards says the deal was commercially sensitive but with estimates of around 20 percent of the cover price of each magazine going to the distributor and 25 new Fairfax magazines now on its books, it’s sure to be a nice big chunk ‘o cash.

Edwards says there won’t be an impact on small publishers or any of the other publishers in its stable and says it will resource accordingly to manage the growth. He describes distribution as a “scale game”.

Gordon & Gotch is owned by media services company PMP New Zealand Limited. Executive general manager at PMP, Peter Browne, is not surprisingly disappointed by the news, especially because PMP acquired the business directly from Fairfax and it has been a long-standing relationship. But disappointment aside, he says there are definitely positive things on the horizon to look forward to and he’s certainly not wallowing.

“We’re resilient to the shudders in the marketplace,” he says, pointing to an example last year in which PMP bounced back after losing ACP.

“In the printing business last year ACP moved its business but a short time later we acquired the business for New Zealand Magazines which offset losing ACP,” says Browne.

“We’re confident we’ll bounce back pretty quickly.”

Meanwhile, Fairfax Sunday newspapers will also be changing its in-house operation, directly managing its own allocation and invoicing. CourierPost (part of Express Couriers Limited) and its transport network will now distribute the Sunday Star Times and the Sunday New nationwide to more than 5000 retail outlets throughout the country.

General manager of printing and distribution for Fairfax NZ, Danny Trainor, says the new partnership will provide the consistent distribution network required to shift large volumes of newspapers and magazines on time.

“We are confident in the technological capabilities, the experience, and the nationwide footprint of these distribution and delivery companies,” he says. “The changes we have made to Fairfax Media’s distribution network will provide significant business efficiencies for us and open up new opportunities for all the parties involved.”

[updated 27 April 2011]


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