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New distribution report: situation not as bad as originally feared

The just released ‘Distripress Global Distribution Tracker: Pulse Update’ paints a picture of a sector facing unprecedented challenges, but also one that is reacting with speed and creativity.

New distribution report: situation not as bad as originally feared
Tracy Jones: “Many are thinking more laterally, building themselves a real future.”

The press supply chain for both newspapers and magazines is facing unprecedented pressure around the world, says Wessenden Marketing, authors of the report. Yet the industry is squaring up to the challenges and is accelerating changes in how it operates with speed and creativity. Looking specifically at the lock-down experience, the general view from the front-line is that things have not been quite as bad as had originally been feared. Those are the key conclusions from a new report from Distripress.

Over the last few weeks, the global press distribution trade association, Distripress, has been polling its members about how they are getting through the current difficult trading, what changes are taking place in their supply chains and what the future looks like, both for the industry and for their own individual operations. Detailed insights from publishers, wholesalers, distributors and retailers in 23 countries in every continent have just been published in a new report, the Distripress Global Distribution Tracker: Pulse Update which has been written by Wessenden Marketing. This is downloadable, free of charge.

The topline view is that although the current state of affairs is volatile, unpredictable and very challenging, it is actually not as bad as many had feared. That is due in part to improvised “workarounds” which were implemented at high speed. These include working from home for office-based staff, social-distancing in warehouses and rejigged delivery runs to retailers.

Yet there are also more fundamental supply chain changes taking place. These range from minor administrative tweaks through to the emergence of EPoS-based Scan-Based-Trading processes in several major markets. In addition, there have been some major, and virtually universal, shifts in the shares taken by different retail types, with Convenience being the biggest winner and Travel the largest loser.

Yet behind all this, the most proactive players in the supply chain are collaborating and innovating to reinvent themselves, in a number of ways that vary from country to country, and which are detailed in the Pulse Update report.

Tracy Jones, Managing Director, Distripress: “I have been massively encouraged by the resilience and creativity demonstrated across our global membership… It is true that some companies are hibernating, waiting for the environment to improve. However, many are thinking more laterally, building themselves a real future: a future that is still based on print newspapers and magazines, but supported and driven by digital tools.”

Jim Bilton, Managing Director, Wessenden Marketing: “I have actually been surprised by the openness of so many companies in sharing their experiences as well as their hope and fears for the future. There is no escaping the fact that there will be many casualties along the way, in every link in the chain from publishers through to retailers. Yet the clear conclusion is that the industry will emerge from the pandemic leaner and more efficient, albeit smaller. We may be moving quickly to a digital-first industry, but it is not yet a digital-only one.”

Whilst the Pulse Update is available free of charge, downloadable on the Distripress website, to anyone involved in the media business, the full Global Distribution Tracker report, which will be available in October, will be for Distripress members only.