Sick of tiptoeing outside in your dressing gown of a morning to ferret
newspaper out of the hedge, then fruitlessly trying to unpick the
plastic wrapping off the thing before throwing it across the room? News
Limited feels your pain – they’re currently testing a new “flat wrap”
to make newspaper
home delivery a less traumatic experience.

A publishing insider has told
Crikey that “the three-part trials, begun in Adelaide
in late September, will be used to determine the impact of the
wrapping formats on subscribers and over-the-counter purchasers, as
well as on
newsagents and the growing number of other retail outlets.”

New Limited’s Greg Baxter told Crikey that they’ll “be looking
at how the presentation of the newspaper could be improved, how to make it
easier to ‘unwrap’ and then read if it is wrapped, rolled or folded in different
ways, whether the cost of home delivery can be reduced” and whether there are
additional benefits for advertisers.

“The reaction from newsagents, readers and advertisers so far has been
generally positive…” said Baxter. “One objective, of course, is to
increase the attractiveness of home delivery.” As for the environmental impact of the wrapping, Baxter said, “Our environmental
managers are part of the project team and degradable plastic is being
used in this trial. This is safe in compost or land fill.”

Bruce Wolpe, spokesman for Fairfax, boasted to Crikey that, “News
Limited is catching up with Fairfax,
we’ve had a trial for over a year…” but wouldn’t give us any more
information on their top secret plan to revolutionise newspaper

Mark Fletcher, newsagency owner and author of the Australian Newsagency Blog, told
Crikey that the flat wrap newspaper is “just as easy to
deliver. It’s quite aerodynamic, you can still throw it. It’s easier
for the
customers to open and read.”

But Fletcher proposes going a step further and making the paper boy
or girl do everything short of serving the paper on a red velvet
cushion. “We
need to reinvent the experience so the customers say ‘this
is really different to what I’m getting online’.” If you get up in the
morning and it’s at your door, says Fletcher, “then it
would add to the experience.”

“With newspapers under so much pressure from online and mobile
devices, we need to find ways to make receiving the newspaper in the
traditional way a more enjoyable, value added experience… You could
add samples and freebies into the bag that the paper comes in too…
and I think customers would be happy to pay a premium price.”