While its finances improve, USPS seeks to squeeze more revenue out of mailers

By Paul J. Boyle, News Media Alliance

It has been standard practice for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to announce bad news right before a holiday, and this Memorial Day weekend was no exception. On May 28, USPS announced proposed rate increases for First Class, Periodicals and Marketing Mail that, in some cases, are seven times the rate of inflation:

Newspapers that mail their editorial product will see the biggest increase, with the overall average increase for Outside County Periodicals coming in at 8.832 percent and Within County Periodicals at 8.311 percent.

In Marketing Mail, commercial high-density/saturation mail, which is typically how newspapers’ Total Market Coverage (TMC) products travel through the postal system, the overall average increase is 4.961 percent.

With Periodicals and Marketing Mail, the rate design proposed by USPS appears to favor destination entry. For example, the rate for a six-ounce saturation TMC that is entered at a Section Center Facility, the per-piece rate increases by 5.12 percent.  However, the same piece entered at the Destination Delivery Unit – the local post office – the increase is only 1.92 percent.

With Outside County Periodicals, which are used by newspapers and regional and national magazines, the rate increases mostly come at the piece rate and appear intended to encourage higher density and destination entry. The new rates continue to encourage mail preparation in trays and especially pallets, which are more efficient to handle.

  • Here is a chart of the newly proposed rates that will be of interest to newspaper publishers.

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