TNG: Working with Publishers to Rebuild Sales
Given what she's been up against for the past year, it's amazing that TNG's Ingrid Jakabcsin finds time to meet with publishers.
With the May, 2014 demise of Source Interlink, which represented roughly one third of all magazine newsstand business in the US, TNG (formerly The News Group), already North America's largest magazine distributor, had to double its capacity, almost literally overnight. With trucks lined up on the highways to get into the depots, the pressure on receiving and invoicing forced warehouses to operate almost round the clock. Tie lines ran twenty hours a day, in two ten hour shifts, seven days a week.
By the time the dust had settled, TNG's count of servicing retailers had more than doubled, from about 24,000 to over 53,000. Magazines handled had spiked by 113 million units, to almost five million per week. To get all the new copies onto all the new shelves, TNG doubled the size of its merchandising force, to over 10,000 people.
Five depots were added, in Cincinnati, San Diego, Pittsburgh, Lansing, and Norfolk, along with two new distribution centers -- one in Hobart, Indiana and the second, acquired from Source Interlink, in Ontario, California. It is said that when TNG first entered the Ontario depot, the warehouse was piled to the ceiling with unprocessed returns, sitting untouched since the day Source had closed its doors.
Today TNG, according to its website, handles well over 1.5 billion books and magazine units per year, while diversifying its retail service offerings to include logistics, front-end category management, merchandising, general merchandising management, and displays.
It's enough to keep any wholesaler executive busy. But Ingrid also clears her schedule to meet with publishers when they come into town, update them on the latest TNG developments, and think through ways to work together to improve sales.
"If you've got special issues or outstanding content coming up, we want to hear about it," she told one publisher on a recent visit. "We can get the word to our merchandisers via our newsletter; we can give them tips as to where on a rack to display the product. Send me the information and we'll get it in front of them."
"We can put you in contact with a buyer who will be interested in what you're trying to accomplish," she told a publisher who was looking to donate product in the interests of literacy. "He's already working on similar initiatives, and you might be able to proceed in partnership together."
"We've got some specialty opportunities that we can work on with you," she advised another publisher. "We'll work with you to customize a proposal for the buyer."
"It's felt like a while since anyone in newsstand has had the time to really stop and look at what we can do with sales," a publisher said to me. "It gives me hope that we can start focusing on what we're actually doing again, rather than simply scrambling to stay alive.
"It was worth the trip."
Linda Ruth, as president of PSCS Consulting (www.PSCSConsulting.com), offers communication companies worldwide the keys to magazine launches, search engine optimization and audience development online and at retail. She is a pioneer in the fields of Online Audience Optimization (OAO) and gamification for content publishers. Her books, "Internet Marketing for Magazine Publishers" ; "How to Market your Newsstand Magazine"; and "Secrets of SEO for Publishers" can be found on Amazon. Find her online at Google Plus, Magazine Dojo, LinkedIn, and Twitter @Linda_Ruth.