The Order of the Ministry will be advisory in nature, so media business may have to negotiate with local authorities itself.
The Ministry of Communications has prepared a document that will bring an order to the distribution of printed media in Russia. The industry representatives were hoping that the official norms on the stalls quantity will be worked out, but in the end only recommendations were worked out.
Now there is no guidance or standards in the country to ensure public kiosks selling printed products operating at the federal level. The criteria, to be met by the commercial objects, the kiosks placing rules, as well as the range of products, are not set. Thus, the number of press kiosks in the regions and their range depends on local authorities.
Alexei Volin, Deputy Minister of Communications and Mass Media said that the representatives of the industry were hoping to get a law or government regulation, governing the distribution of the press at the federal level for a long time.
- But it turned out, that the advice is easier to take, so the industry has agreed to our proposal - said Volin.
Ministry of Communications, after discussion with industry organizations and the representatives of media, prepared the draft order "On approval of recommendations for the support and development of retail distribution of media and other printed materials in the subjects of the Russian Federation". The document (available to "Izvestia") is recommending, for example, to create at least 1 newsstand for each 1.5 thousand inhabitants in large cities and in populated areas with less than 50 thousand inhabitants - 1 stand for 4 thousand people. In 2012 in Moscow, according to the Press Distributors Association (PDA), 1 stand accounted for 3.5 thousand residents.
Depending on the population demand, a kiosk can be an area of 9 to 18 sq. meters. It is recommended to introduce preferential rental rates for such objects: not more than 30 rubles for the sq. meter per month in the cities with a population of 1,000,000 people and not more than 20 rubles – in the cities with a population of 100 thousand people etc.
It is stated in the draft order of the Ministry of Communications, that the press kiosks should be located „close to public transport, in the subway, railway terminals and stations, near subway stations and transport hubs, in pedestrian areas".
The Ministry encourages the municipalities to coordinate within a month time the location of the object with the water and gas supply networks and environmental services. And at a termination of the lease due to road transport operations, laying communications, local authorities have to provide compensation equivalent places to press distributors.
Another point of recommendations was made after the PDA statement to the Ministry of Communications. It is said that the range of the kiosk should consist of printed materials with not less than 60%; the remaining 40% may be the stationery, toys, etc. In PDA it was explained to "Izvestia", that expansion of the range of related products - is an effective way to raise the profitability.
The Ministry of Communications is planning to adopt the recommendations in the third quarter of 2013.
- The media business will get a tool to influence the regional authorities after that. It will become clear at once which region has created proper conditions for the press distribution and in which not, - said Deputy Minister Alexei Volin.
PDA’s Board Chairman Alexander Oskin welcomes the efforts of the Ministry of Communications to help the industry, but do not place "optimistic expectations" on the recommendations.
- The order is only advisory in nature and, under current law, is non-binding for regional authorities. Local officials rule arbitrarily. For example, in Saratov, newsstands were taken away along with the contents in an unknown direction, with the consent of the mayor and even the governor of the region cannot affect the head of the city, - gave an example Mr. Oskin.
Distributors of printed products repeatedly asked the federal and regional authorities to support this segment of the trade and stop the destruction of kiosks across the country. In June, the Press Distributors Association has sent a signed letter of industry participants to the Russian President Vladimir Putin, in which it was said that „the direction to reduce the retail kiosks in the regions is contrary to the interests of the country."
- The situation with stalls of the press in Russia is simply catastrophic. The rate of destruction in the country for various reasons is 10 sites a day. The appeal to the regional authorities does not give any results at all - told Oskin to "Izvestia".
PDA wrote that it expects to introduce the average European standard for the number of shopping facilities per capita and variety of press stalls in Russia.
The Russian market for distribution of print media in terms of value has nearly doubled in the past 12 years, estimated PDA. In this case, in Russia, according to expert estimates, about 60% of circulation of newspapers and magazines is realized through the press stalls. However, within the last 8 years the number of specialized media objects has reduced by 26%.
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