I don’t read The Age in paper form everyday, but when I do, it’s either on the weekend where I can spread out as much as I like (so broadsheet is fine, though the smaller format of the supplements is fine too), or on weekdays on the train, where the broadsheet format is extremely awkward to handle.
Many of us will know the feeling — we’ve managed to find a nook on the train where we can unfold the paper without hitting other people with it, struggled just to turn the page without it inadvertently folding in on itself, and finally got to the new page only to find it’s a bloody double-spread of adverts for Dan Murphy’s or some other booze outlet we have no interest in reading.
It may be seen by some teary nostalgics as the end of an era, but I for one welcome the new compact tabloid format.
Mind you, as Jonathan Green writes in this interesting article, it may just forestalls the inevitable continuing decline of paper sales.
It does sound like some kind of paywall will go up around the web site, too. It’s unclear how well that’s worked for News Limited papers such as the Herald Sun, given there are easy ways of circumventing much of it.
I also wonder what on earth Fairfax were thinking when they built The Age’s Tullamarine printing plant, now set to close within a year or two, but which only opened ten years ago at a cost of $220 million — all set up with highly expensive printing presses to print broadsheets. Did really nobody see coming the decline of classified ad revenue, and thus big fat broadsheet newspapers?
We upgraded the kids’ beds to King Single… because they’re both getting big.
Unfortunately the place I bought the excellent old bunk beds years ago (“Chunky Pine Bunks”) seems to have closed down… a real shame because all I wanted was fairly plain, but really sturdy beds.
I hunted around and eventually found these:
Good price, looked sturdy. I went in and checked them out in person, and they looked okay, so ordered them.
When they arrived, I noted that unlike the advertisement above which implies they are made in NZ, they are actually made in China.
I’ve got no problem with the quality of them; so far they’ve been fine. And frankly, the price was right.
But I’m not sure how I feel about the advertising implying they’re made in NZ, when they’re not.
Of course it’s possible that the wood originates in NZ but is shipped to China for construction. Or perhaps it’s some type of wood that is known as New Zealand Pine?
Oh well. Just one of those things I suppose.
I guess the message here is that if the country of origin is important, be sure to ask — don’t trust the advertising, especially if it’s a bit vague.
If you improve a product, and want it to sell well, you need to make people aware of it.
When they launched trains every 10 minutes between the City and Ringwood, Dandenong and Frankston last year on weekends, there was an initial bit of publicity via the media, but very little else.
Metro did some advertising via MX and billboards which was incredibly vague:
Witty? Perhaps. But what does it tell you? It could mean anything. And it implies the boost is on Sundays only.
Even now, while the excellent Dumb Ways To Die campaign has gained a lot of awareness, as far as other promotion goes, they’ve reverted to non-specific advertising:
It might build brand awareness, and hint at the idea that people should consider PT for travel everyday, not just to and from work/school, but does nothing to tell you that, actually, weekend train services are better than they’ve ever been — and let’s face it, that’s what’s going to get people on board.
While those who know have started using ten minute trains more (and loving it), and it’s relieved the crowding, a lot of people are completely unaware that Melbourne’s three busiest rail lines have such a frequent weekend service.
The problem was brought home to me a couple of years ago (before the latest upgrade) when my stepfather said that he wished they’d improve Sunday (daytime) train timetables from running every 40 minutes. In reality on his line they haven’t run every 40 minutes since 1996. In that year they changed to every 30, then to every 20 in 1999. He had been thoroughly discouraged from using trains on Sundays many years ago, and hadn’t heard they’d improved.
Many people are also unaware that you’ll pay a maximum of $3.50 per day on weekends and public holidays to travel anywhere around Melbourne.
There are good examples in the not too distant past of targeted, clear promotion that gets the message across. Here’s a local newspaper advert from 1992:
With Melbourne’ CBD booming on weekends, and inner-city traffic and parking often causing hassles, fast frequent trains have real potential to help people get around Melbourne.
Not every line runs frequently, but if we’re going to see that happen, the ones that do need to be successful. Proper, clear promotion is vital to help make it so.
- Some operators DO know how to advertise frequent services
- Pondering: Why aren’t MetroTrains promoting the hell out of their ten minute services?
- Preaching to the converted — train advertising to existing users, and how patronage is expected to double in ten years
The key difference seems to be that the JB Hifi people know how to set up their TVs.
The Big W people don’t know, or don’t care, that on almost all of the TVs they have on display, the colour is completely distorted.
If you can’t see a display product working properly, why would you buy it there?
Apparently these are some of the few still working cash railways in Victoria. They were common in medium to larger shops early last century, as a way for money to be relayed to a central cashier, and change sent back.
For more on cash railways, check the Cash Railway web site.
- Completely unrelated: The Age has an article today about new Myki gates being no faster than the hybrid Metcard/Myki “frankenbarriers” they replaced. This is based on this great blog post from earlier in the week by Marcus Wong. Well worth a read.
One of the chemists in Bentleigh is renovating, and this old signage has been revealed — soon to be covered up with something new. Apparently they used to sell stuff called “film” from a company called “Kodak”.
The windows have also shown up some old ads. Anybody care to estimate how old they might be?
Evidently “Beyond 2000” finished in 1999.
What is cross linked elastin cream, anyway?
The sign on the top of the shop might be a good submission for Our Fading Past.
Browsing around the store one day, I found the two Harry Potter movies we don’t already have — the Deathly Hallows parts 1 and 2 — on Blu-ray, for $14.98, and on a two-for-the-price-of-one deal. Sold.
But what to spend the remaining $14.02 on?
Here are the prices of some movies and other discs that are on my To Buy list… with a comparison between Amazon UK, JB Hifi and Ezydvd.
|Title||JB Hifi||EzyDVD||Amazon UK|
|Firefly (TV series) Blu-ray ||$36.98||$42.97||£15.00 ($21.93)|
|Doctor Who (series 5) Blu-ray||$133.99||$139.97||£17.00 ($24.65)|
|Doctor Who (series 6) Blu-ray ||NA||$119.97||£18.25 ($26.35)|
|Tintin(movie) Blu-ray 2D ||$49.99||$52.97||£8.25 ($12.72)|
|The Slap DVD||$55.99||$57.97||£6.77 ($10.71)|
-  Firefly was recently about double this price in Australia for the Blu-ray. It seems they’ve now brought it down to a reasonable price at last.
-  JBHifi online only lists the part 1 and part 2 Blu-rays of Doctor Who series 6, which excludes extras.
-  The Tintin movie in Australia appears to be only available on Blu-ray with bundled (but in my case, unwanted) DVD and digital copy. Amazon has this edition as well, at 10 pounds more than just the Blu-ray. In Australia, the 3D Blu-ray is another $10, making it around $60.
-  I’m not really in the market for this, but I thought I’d throw it in as an example of an Australian production. In Australia the price of the DVD or Blu-ray seems to be equally high. Amazon UK only lists the DVD; no Blu-ray.
The dollar prices for Amazon UK above are with the VAT deducted, and the £1.49 per item delivery cost added. There is an additional £2.09 ($3.27) cost per delivery, which is why most people try and buy multiple things at once, rather than ordering items one-by-one.
But even with delivery costs, some of these items are ludicrously more expensive buying in Australia. It’s not hard to see why people are importing — and also not hard to see that while some retailers want 10% GST added to imports, it would make hardly any difference at all — not when in some of these cases Amazon will deliver it to you for a fifth of the Australian price.
The rise of the Aussie dollar has obviously played a part here, but this isn’t new… it’s been over 60 UK pence for about two years.
And I’m not saying the retailers are necessarily to blame here, but something somewhere in the supply chain for these products is obviously very fishy indeed.
PS lunchtime. Obviously the price differential is quite different for various products and types of product. I think I actually got a pretty good deal on the Harry Potter Blu-rays, and I doubt they are cheaper via Amazon… this of course makes it all the more puzzling. Ultimately someone in the supply chain believes that Australians shopping locally are prepared to pay higher prices than our UK friends… that, after all, is how the free market operates.
By the way, unlike for DVDs, the UK and Europe is the same region for Blu-ray discs as Australia (region B).
PS 18/11/2012: I did eventually buy a couple of these yesterday during a JB Hifi “20% off DVDs and Blu-ray” sale. Firefly (still at around $37) went down to about $30, which is close to the US price (though still a bit above the UK one), and Tintin now has a new Blu-ray only edition retailing for $19.95. At 20% off that took it down to about $16. I also noticed The Slap has dropped to about $40.
This train is rolling around with advertising for Sportingbet plastered all over it.
It provoked this letter in The Age yesterday:
THERE’S much disapproval of the AFL regarding the promotion of gambling to minors during game time. I eagerly await seeing equal concern at the state subsidised rail system, which now has an entire train painted with a betting slogan. Who catches trains to school? Minors. At least matches on TV can be switched off.
Can we please dismiss this valueless economic model of marketing everything everywhere all the time and rediscover executives who regard themselves as pillars of the community. They would lead by example and really understand the concept of choice – such as the right not to be subjected to advertising in public spaces and the right of the community over that of shareholders.
David Cathie, Mordialloc
I’m unsure about this. Where does one draw the line? Do we also ban ads for MA-rated video games, MA and R-rated movies, booze, novels aimed at adults, theatre performances with adult themes, anything else marketed at adults that we don’t want children to use…? Dunno.
The other issue I’m interested in is the visibility through the windows. I haven’t seen it from inside, but certainly from outside you can’t see anything. This reduces safety by going against CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) principles, particularly that of natural surveillance:
Natural surveillance increases the threat of apprehension by taking steps to increase the perception that people can be seen. Natural surveillance occurs by designing the placement of physical features, activities and people in such a way as to maximize visibility and foster positive social interaction among legitimate users of private and public space. Potential offenders feel increased scrutiny and limitations on their escape routes.
In general I have no problem with advertising on public transport if it’s unobtrusive — the revenue helps subsidise the system and fund improvements. But advertising that completely covers windows, reducing visibility is not welcome.