I don’t know if News are playing “funny buggers” or if I have a dopey newsagent, or both. I subscribe to the Sydney Morning Herald which lands on my front lawn at around 6:30am each day. Today’s missile contained not only the SMH but a sealed copy of a magazine called Alpha that I’d not heard of before. With the magazine was a flyer offering the mag for just $20 a year provided I took the Daily and Sunday Telegraphs.

As I receive the home-delivered SMH
on a yearly subscription at a significant discount to the paper-shop
price, I imagine Fairfax subsidises the real cost of supply and
delivery to some extent. Accordingly, I wonder about the
appropriateness of News not only targeting SMH readers in this
way but also their use of Fairfax delivery arrangements. I don’t know
if anyone else has received a magazine like this, but I think you may
be interested in following up this untoward commercial behaviour.

CRIKEY: News Limited has this week embarked on a huge investment in Alpha,
its new monthly magazine for sporting males, printing an estimated one
million copies of the first edition and giving many of those away free
to subscribers of its string of daily newspapers. It’s also creating a
heavy internet presence with Alpha
– and this is just part of an extremely aggressive new magazine
publishing initiative by News, which includes free new magazines in
several cities and in its national flagship The Australian, which reported the story here.

The interesting thing about Alpha is that if the
strategy of using daily newspapers to sell magazines works, it could
start a whole new paradigm for magazine publishers – and could be very
damaging to the big gorilla of magazine publishing, Kerry Packer’s ACP,
which totally dominates the industry.

Peter Fray

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