Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Editorial: Mail Bomb on the Way

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Editorial: Mail Bomb on the Way

Article excerpt

God bless those newspaper industry folks who labor in the arcane world of postal regulations. They fight the good but crushingly tedious fight for fairness against a U.S. Postal Service (USPS) bureaucracy enamored of direct mail and always itching to cut special deals with some big individual mailer, at the expense of mailed small-town papers and big-city newspaper TMC (total market coverage) products.

Theirs is a lonely world, these masters of PAVE certification and Delivery Point Validation regulations. Their victories achieving Within-County Rate reductions or gaining approval for unsacked bundle delivery at DDU-Entry Rates are applauded faintly. Their industry colleagues realize the postal expenses at stake, but just can't help yawning.

Now, though, the USPS is about to impose regulations that should have publishers from papers the size of the Cushing (Okla.) Daily Citizen to the Los Angeles Times grabbing their pitchforks and advancing on Washington.

In a breathtaking ballet of bureaucracy, the USPS is rolling out a new system for handling flats, including TMCs and SMCs (selective market coverage) that will simultaneously raise rates for most newspapers, disrupt their production schedules, increase their transportation costs, and slow down household delivery -- all the while allowing direct mailers like Red Plum to continue to qualify for the discounted rates from reliable distribution points that will now turn away most newspapers.

Oh, and one more thing: This new USPS Flats Sequencing System (FSS) -- centered on $875 million worth of behemoth sorters that are far slower than inserters running at any average daily -- is more likely to end up spilling advertising inserts all over the floor than speeding delivery to households. …

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