Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

Alternate Carriers Regroup; Imminent Postal Hike Stirs Private Services

Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

Alternate Carriers Regroup; Imminent Postal Hike Stirs Private Services

Article excerpt

NEW YORK CITY-While everyone has an eye on Time Inc. Magazine Co.'s Publishers Express, two leading alternate delivery services are regrouping to meet the challenge of the expected postal rate hike.

Recently, United Delivery Systems (UDS) added nine new magazines-Woman'sDay, Tennis, Golf Digest, Bon Appetit, Home, Travel & Leisure, Food & Wine, Seventeen and Premiere-while expanding rural route delivery. At the same time, National Delivery Service (NDS), which recently signed on sports daily The National, is out on the conference circuit, educating and soliciting publishers about its benefits.

The companies' expansion comes on the heels of growth by Publishers Express. That Marietta, Georgia-based alternate delivery company recently added a third Zip Code to its routes and signed on American Express Publishing Company, U.S. News & World Report, Quad Graphics and Times Mirror.

Meanwhile, UDS, which carries 14 titles to 260 Zip Codes in the Midwest, has been reorganizing. "I've rededicated myself to meet growth" following the next postal rate case, says Phil Miller, president and CEO of UDS. The company, for example, is increasing distribution to rural areas while maintaining prices competitive with those of the United States Postal Service (USPS), he claims.

Moreover, as third class increasingly "rides along" with second class in private delivery bags-as with UDS service-delivery costs for publishers can be reduced even more, says Ann Zeller, vice president of the Direct Marketing Association (DMA). Publishers Express is looking to add more catalogers like J.C. Penney (for which it already delivers), while NDS is also considering the addition of third class mail.

Currently, NDS, a wholly owned subsidiary of Dow jones & Company (publisher of The Wall Street journal) distributes 12 daily and weekly magazines. The century-old service carried only WSJ until the mid 1970s; today, its customers include Time, Advertising Age and Barron's. …

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