Consumer Reports Drops 2 Publications

JUNE 01, 2015

The Chronicle of Philanthropy

Consumer Reports Drops 2 Publications After Mailing Costs Increase

Consumer Reports will soon stop publishing two of its four publications, largely because postage increases that took effect Monday have made the print versions unaffordable to mail, officials said.

ShopSmart magazine and the Money Adviser newsletter, which Consumer Reports has been sending to 324,000 and 134,000 subscribers, respectively, will be eliminated after final issues of each are produced this year. The two print publications have not built online followings that would allow them to shift to an electronic-only format, according to Meta Brophy, director of procurement.

The nonprofit’s flagship magazine, Consumer Reports, will continue to be mailed to 3.6 million subscribers, she said.

The 79-year-old consumer group was one of several organizations protesting new postage rates on nonprofit magazines and newsletters. Mailing rates for nonprofits vary widely depending on weight, how the publications are sorted for delivery, and other factors.

The Postal Service overhauled postage-rate increases in 2006 and tied them to inflation, about 2 percent most recently. However, many nonprofits were surprised this year by widely varying rate increases that hit some periodical mailings much harder than others, while still holding to an overall increase of about 2 percent.

At Consumer Reports, this year’s postage hikes will add nearly 14 percent to the cost of mailing Money Adviser, while postage on ShopSmart will increase by more than 2 percent. The cumulative impact during the past three years has been a 23-percent increase in mailing costs for Money Adviser and 11 percent for ShopSmart, said Ms. Brophy.

Send an email to Holly Hall.