At a time when a new social-media algorithm can take down a popular digital media company in a matter of months, print publications have it worse than ever.
Last year, just months before a proposed tariff was slapped on Canadian newsprint makers, many small newspapers and publications across the United States worried about the impact of higher costs. They planned to downsize staff, circulation and frequency. Some even worried they would be forced to cease operation.
Now a new domestic issue threatens a similar group of publications: a possible spike in postage costs.
This threat pits two troubled groups against each other: a hemorrhaging postal service that’s lost immense amounts of revenue in the digital age, and industries that still rely on paper communications and products to be delivered in an affordable manner.
Last Thursday, the Association of Magazine Media, the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, the Association for Postal Commerce (PostCom), Idealliance and the American Catalog Mailers Association publicly denounced an upcoming 10-year review proposal that would cut away at one of the cornerstones of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act.
The proposed revision would increase postage for some types of mail, hurting those businesses in the process.
In a public comment filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), the five organizations stated they believe the move is not only harmful to their business, but also impermissible.
Michael Plunkett, President/CEO, PostCom, commented the PRC is choosing to maintain the financial stability of the postal service while ignoring “crucial factors like, efficiency, cost savings and rate stability.”
Publications rely on steady numbers to settle their bottom line, and the price of postage clearly plays an important part. The PRC proposal essentially suggests the postal service would benefit from deregulating the postage rate. Proposed increases could send the cost of postage up 40% or more, and up to 30% above the cost of inflation.
Linda Thomas Brooks, President/CEO of MPA—The Association of Magazine Media, stated: The PRC conflates rate stability and rate predictability, and rates that increase this much faster than inflation are not stable. If approved, these rate increases would force some magazines to cut back on issues and circulation and would put others out of business entirely.
"While it would hurt businesses and consumers across the country, it would do virtually nothing to improve the Postal Service’s finances.”
The deadline for public comment was March 1, with replies expected March 30.