CHOICE membership

Choice Magazine at the NewsAgent?

Hi all,
As a new_user here, but long time consumer, with the long time wish for Choice to become available at the newsagency. Might have had the notion that there was some talk it would go on the stands back in the 70s, there’s little on Wikipedia, and little of historical content anywhere else. Is still it a question of prohibitive production, delivery and shelving costs, or something else?
Going into the local for a copy of Choice will certainly support our ailing newsagencies in these uncertain times. Personally, the preference is to pay a little more for a magazine on the stand rather than subscribe, for nothing else than the “personal touch” and for no permanent commitment to be confronted with every monthly issue. That’s the whole point of newsagencies, I guess.
What price for a well presented 50 page issue with ads? 10-20 dollars be enough?
And there’s Australia post concerns as well, although it looking through that thread, they are reliable enough.
Thanks!

3 Likes

Hi @lmstearn, welcome to the community.

It could be these as well as an increased cost to Choice for unsold magazines at the end of the month. Choice operates on a shoestring from funds from its members, and any avoidable costs (such as wasted magazines) are pursued to ensure the funding they have goes as far as possible.

It could also be that Choice would receive substantially less per magazine as everyone along the way (Choice, distributors, retailer) would want a cut of the sale price.

The last point is subscription isn’t just for the magazine. There are consumer support services such as Choice Help and Choice Shopper.

It is also woth noting that online subscription are possible if one is chasing particular product reviews or guides.

5 Likes

Choice operates as a not for profit. Would that also be an issue and the status of the magazine change commercially? @BrendanMays

The RACQ and other motoring organisations have members magazines. I don’t recollect seeing them at News Agents either. Paper products are not extinct. One day?

5 Likes

But they are little more than a vehicle for advertising for medical devices, retirement villages with golf courses and very expensive overseas holidays marked down to expensive while stocks last. I tried to get a discount on my subscription by giving up the magazine - they wouldn’t do it so it goes into recycling.

I prefer Choice not go there.

3 Likes

The ABC is a not-for profit organisation but their food magazine, “Delicious”, was sold in supermarkets.

2 Likes

The ABC is actually a government corporation created and managed through an act of parliament. Different from a not for profit. The two most common structures for a not-for-profit organisation or a charity are an incorporated association, or an Australian public company limited by guarantee.

I was expecting @BrendanMays would clarify when he has time why the Choice magazine is not widely distributed on News Agents shelves. I have a vague memory it was more readily available back in the 1980’s.

4 Likes

Choice provides the option.

The RACQ - NRMA etc probably consider their magazines an overhead in selling services. A cost they can weigh against the business generated through members making bookings or purchases from business with Club discounts.

2 Likes

I belong to a number of national and state member organisations (not for profit, sporting body etc) and their constitutions require them to communicate with their members through “official” channels which is usually the Magazine. A couple of them tried to recoup costs and raise the profile by also going to Newsagent shelves. To keep the volume on shelves meant about half were thrown out at the end of each month. It was their biggest expense, after wages. That was a few years ago, and since then newsagent magazines have declined. I have not bought a magazine (except for a puzzle book) for several years.

I have been a subscriber to Choice print magazine for decades. But note how the language has changed (in Mark_m’s screenshot). It used to be Print Magazine, optional extra - digital. Now the print subscription is the optional extra. You can also read Choice at the library.

I get my member magazines digitally, except for one, where a member took them to court and successfully proved that their Constitution did not allow digital “official” communications and they had to produce 3 magazines a year for the Calling the AGM (etc), Director’s election statements & results, AGM minutes. I reckon 90% went into the bin, having already read (if they bothered) the contents on-line.

The casual Choice buyer would only pick one up if they were in need of a dishwasher and it had a dishwasher report. I don’t think the demand is there, as you can go to Choice on-line any time.

5 Likes

But should the aspirations of Choice be confined to Choice subscribers only? I would have thought that this is a very, very small base.

1 Like

On reflection, Choice mags at news agencies is probably not a wise economic decision. However, how do we exploit the digital world to expand the Choice philosophy. What is the cost of having 1 or 100,000 digital subscribers? I’m serious.

1 Like

While negotiating contracts a decade+ ago I often held up a CDROM to the aspiring supplier and asked him what its value was compared to the contract. More often than not the software got included gratis.

Bottom line is that content being equal, it costs as much to serve 1 as 100,000. The differences in costs are servers and support infrastructure, that are usually less than linear with an increasing subscriber base.

6 Likes

We have Choice magazines at the local libraries. Perhaps if you want the print version you could go and read the issues there. They often have back issues as well.

2 Likes

Hello @lmstearn, welcome to the CHOICE Community!

You’ve raised a very good question. In years past, CHOICE has trialled various distribution methods including having physical copies in stores and newsagents, waiting rooms, political offices and libraries.

You’re correct in that it is a ‘cost vs benefit’ for the organisation, and with many of our 190K+ members choosing a digital subscription, the numbers just don’t add up for newsagency distribution at the moment. However, we do understand people want to connect with us via the print mag and on a monthly basis, and for those readers I would encourage them to visit the local library and check out the latest CHOICE there.

Hope that info helps, and thanks for your support!

6 Likes

Thanks all for the kind and informative responses!
Changing models for changing times is Choice from all accounts.
My preference then would be more of an occasional subscriber- and if there were ever a “best of” or highlights series put out, happy to sign up for that, too.

There was always the impression in the past that in this country, Choice was never truly supported by the commercial brand devs, as none of them ever trusted the “neutral” approach to product review, wherefore perceived or alleged low expertise, knowledge and technique in the critique made by a (to them, comparatively at least) lowly paid third party. Also, any bad press for the product was guaranteed to hurt egos, pockets, and the good name of the brand, leading inevitably to litigation.
Which kind of explains the pressure on various distributors not to consider Choice at all. One such was Gordon & Gotch here in New South Wales- did they ever evince interest at any stage?
It also offers an explanation of why the Choice subscription base had been so small- why pick up a staid looking Choice when those Playboy or Vogue mags down the aisle look so much more appealing? Even if there is information in some of those pages that could end up saving you money, time, and heartache?

There are things still “taboo” in syndicated output- Open Road will never offer star ratings on auto brands, even though you know for the quality of review they could. Will the RoyalAuto be different? Would Delicious magazine offer brand review with star ratings?
They are all sure to move on to it, as just about everything for buy/sell on the internet does.
It’s vital for Choice to continue, as many others have fallen by the wayside- remember the Investigators on the ABC? And the very fine Checkout, which lost its support base- perhaps in part to the Swisse and A2 actions.

2 Likes

I can see the allure, but do not find the gloss of the other options mentioned appealing, fact over fiction or age over youthful ignorance.

For a paid subscription base of 200,000+, Choice is far from ‘so small’ IMO.

Of some note:
The Venerable CWA has 44,000 members and Scouts Australia 70,000. The Liberal Party of Australia had 50,000 round numbers in 2019.

With 151 Federal electorates there is an average of 1300+ Choice members in each electorate. Enough to make a real difference when it counts.

Apologies to the CWA, Scouting movement and Liberal Parties of Australia for choosing your membership numbers as comparisons. Two of these provide a real benefit to everyday Australians. :wink:

4 Likes

What is wrong with the CWA?

image

Printed magazines at the shopfront are struggling to maintain readership. Many have disappeared or magazines have been consolidated to try and maintain readership at levels to worthy a print run.

With Vogue Australia you mentioned, in 2019-2020, readership fell 34.5% over the year. Majority of other magazines the readership also fell substantially.

It shows the old media/retail magazine are in decline and possibly replaced by the internet.

This does provide compelling data why Choice shouldn’t entertain the news agency magazine model.

3 Likes