The Postal Service today announced that, in response to concerns raised by the Alliance, it has reduced the large price increases it had previously proposed for light weight, low advertising magazines, primarily published and mailed by nonprofits. Nonprofit mailers are urged to contact their mail service providers for a recalculation of the impact of this change on their Periodicals rates. USPS also announced that all new rates, if approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission, will go into effect on May 31.
Here is an excerpt from the USPS filing at the PRC today:
“To ensure that the Postal Service utilized its maximum price adjustment authority for the Periodicals class, and in light of the increased per-piece editorial discount above the discount originally proposed, the Postal Service increased the advertising per pound prices for Outside County Periodicals. The revised prices are higher than previously filed by the Postal Service in this docket (both in its initial filing, and in response to the first remand), but lower than the current advertising per pound prices. With these revised prices, the total percentage price increase for Periodicals is 1.966 percent. As such, the Postal Service utilizes all available price cap authority for the Periodicals class.”
But the Periodicals relief might not be as much as nonprofit publications would have needed, possibly to remain committed to hard-copy mail, as the USPS went on to say:
“Some mailers have raised, and may continue to raise, concerns regarding the Postal Service’s strategy for Periodicals pricing. In response to such concerns, the Postal Service notes that Periodicals revenue has not covered its costs over the last decade. As a result, the Commission has urged the Postal Service to use its pricing flexibility to provide efficient pricing signals and improve cost coverage for the Periodicals class. In the instant docket the Postal Service is taking meaningful steps to encourage more efficient mail preparation, including an increase in the prices for both pallets and bundles to cover their estimated costs. The Postal Service mitigated the impact of these two price increases by significantly reducing the per-pound prices for editorial content as well as advertising. To the extent that these pound price reductions do not offset the higher bundle and pallet prices, especially for high-editorial, low weight publications, the Postal Service also now proposes to increase the discount provided by the per-piece editorial adjustment for Outside County Periodicals, as noted above. The Postal Service is sensitive to the impact of its pricing strategy on high editorial content publications and will continue to balance efficient pricing signals and the impact on its small and medium size publications with high editorial content.”