Media research leads down a variety of devious paths in the interest of keeping our readers abreast of projections for the future. In this case, it suggests that growing use of the Internet and e-mail is contributing to what could be the first ever decline in first-class mail volume. Experts say volume will fall an average of 3.6 percent a year beginning in 2004.
Because of this competition from e-mail and private delivery companies, the Postal Service is embarking on an aggressive campaign to sell advertising space on the sides of its delivery trucks, collection boxes, priority envelopes and in post-office lobbies.
Edmund Sanders, of the Los Angeles Times, reports that the postal service cut its first deal in December with America Online, which bought space on about 10,000 delivery trucks in 11 major markets.
It’s expected that 200,000 delivery trucks will generate about half the expected revenue of $200 million a year, although only about 25,000 vehicles circulate in locations busy enough to support ads.
Buyers can figure about $330 a month per truck, or less than the cost of buying a placard on the side of most city buses. And, ads on about 40,000 collection boxes in high-traffic areas will appear as soon as next month, but no costs are included in the article.
In addition, the covers of stamp booklets are up for sale to advertisers, as are postmarks. "We want to put more than a picture of an eagle on the side of a postal vehicle," said John Ward, vice president of core business marketing for the postal service.
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