According to the Newspaper Association of America, the nation’s daily newspapers spend almost $1 billion annually on services rendered from the U.S. Postal Service. Daily newspapers spent over $900 million in 2005 for the delivery of First Class, Periodicals and Standard Mail. This is up from $700 million in 2002. “Nationally, newspapers are the largest mailers in their local markets,” according to Newspaper Association of America president/CEO John F. Sturm.
Not many people would have predicted these numbers from America’s newspapers. Newspapers have been on a general decline since the internet appeared on the journalism scene in the nineties. Subscriptions to newspapers are down almost universally across America- with many Americans turning to online periodicals or blogs instead of print editions. So how have America’s newspapers been able to sustain increased spending on the USPS?
The answer is that the economic numbers include not only Periodical Mail, but also materials for marketing, advertising invoices and remittance. The Newspaper Association of America found that the greatest growth in newspaper spending was in the Standard Mail category. Newspapers spent $600 million in 2005 compared with $400 million in 2004. That growth is staggering.
Newspapers use Standard Mail to deliver “total market coverage” ad mail products to non-subscribers. In addition newspapers also use Standard Mail in marketing campaigns for new-subscriber solicitations, renewals and customer loyalty programs. Some analysts see these new advertisements as a direct response to the decrease in subscription numbers.
The USPS may want newspaper subscription numbers to continue to decline. Even though they will be missing out on Periodical Mail they will be more than compensated by Standard Mail advertising revenue.