mailman-bwThe U.S. Postal Service announced several bits of good news last month for newspapers.

The periodicals in-county rates used most often by newspapers will not change, according to Max Heath, postal chair for the National Newspaper Association.

“It’s a boon for publishers for at least another year, most likely,” Heath wrote.

The Postal Service announced on October 12 price and rule changes that will be effective on Jan. 22, subject to approval of the Postal Regulatory Commission. Heath said the constant rates are due to a lack of inflation.

The proposed new rates for 2017 also may significantly decrease postage costs for many newspapers that use the postal service to deliver Total Market Coverage (TMC) products.

“As a result of the change, some major market metros could see a reduction in postage costs by hundreds of thousands of dollars next year,” wrote Paul Boyle, senior vice president of public policy at News Media Alliance (formerly Newspaper Association of America.)

The savings will occur as the threshold for the application of pound prices with Standard mail will increase from 3.3 oz. to 4 oz.

“This will allow newspaper shoppers to mail more weight before the pound price kicks in.,” according to Heath.

“This proposal could allow more profit for those working to get their Standard Mail print products at or just below this weight, especially with sales of more single-sheet inserts or even just adding an insert weighing 0.7 ounces”

He said this increase in the threshold rate for the pound price is the largest in postal history.

Boyle said, “Newspapers could see a rate decrease of up to 11 percent for TMC packages. The Alliance believes the Postal Service is sending a strong message that it wants newspapers’ TMC business.”

 

The Postal Service also is changing the name of Standard Mail. The new designation will be Marketing Mail.

Heath also said that the Postal Service is eliminating higher prices imposed in May of 2015 for Periodicals mail run through Flats Sortation Sequencing (FSS) equipment in high “flats” mail volume areas. He said newspapers and their shoppers, primarily entered at the office of delivery, have not and should not be affected by this pricing change.

“The proposal would eliminate all FSS prices for Periodicals from the Postage Statement Form 3541, ending confusion among some newspaper mailers,” Heath added.

Other aspects of the October announcement:

The saturation letter price used by Val-Pak, a newspaper competitor, will increase by 2.295%. However, the weight break for that mail will increase from 3.3 oz. to 3.5 oz.

The First-Class “Forever” stamp price will increase to 49 cents, back to where it was for more than 27 months.