Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

Industry Vows to Fight Proposed Postal Hike

Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

Industry Vows to Fight Proposed Postal Hike

Article excerpt

Increase could cost publishers $300 million a year.

Magazine executives at the American Magazine Conference in Boca Raton, Florida, vowed to fight a 12 to 15 percent postal rate increase for all second-class mail beginning in 2001 that is expected to be proposed as early as this month to the Postal Rate Commission.

According to the Magazine Publishers of America, the increase would cost the industry, which already spends $2 billion annually on postage, an estimated $300 million more each year.

"It's not going to go through," said Hearst Magazines president Cathleen Black, who was recently elected as chair of the MPA's board of directors. "We've got to have that attitude."

Black's comments followed an early morning speech by U.S. Postmaster General William Henderson in which he called magazines an "anchor tenant" in the current mail stream, along with bills. Speaking to a packed room, Henderson told the executives that, "We don't want to do anything that takes magazines out of the mail."

That's especially true, he added, as more and more bills are expected to go electronic. "Without bills and magazines, why do you need a mailbox?" he asked rhetorically. "We're intrinsically bound. There's no way either of us can survive without the other."

Henderson's words brought little comfort to MPA members, however. Rita Cohen, MPA's senior vice president of legislative and regulatory issues, said the postal-staff-recommended rate hike of l2to 15 percent for January 2001 is expected to be presented as early as this month, although she said speculation is growing that the recommendation will not come until January--one year after the commission's last rate increase.

New MPA president Nina Link said her group wants the recommendation delayed, since the Postal Service will not only propose the hike--which is based on its traditional, ongoing calculations--but also has plans to demonstrate how measures such as tighter bundling restrictions and increased automation have cut costs, which could result in a lower rate hike. …

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