As reported in recent issues of Publishing Edge, Australia's largest servicer of print post, D&D Mailing Services, hosted forums in Melbourne and Sydney in which publishers and senior executives had the opportunity to comment on the Future of Print Post as outlined by Australia Post representatives. Alistair Tod, a senior executive of AP, announced a potential price increase for 2012 and welcomed input from the floor. D&D director Davis Docherty opened proceedings by stating that these Forums are "designed to afford a better understanding by Australia Post of the needs and requirements of the Print Post service for Publishers whilst affording the opportunity to clear the clutter regarding the interpretation and vagaries of it".
As expected, there was an outcry based on the current business climate and the recent weight breaks which impacted negatively for many publishers. While recognising the efficiencies provided by the Print Post service, it was pointed out that increasing Australia Post costs were compromising the ability to maintain the current process. The forum was instrumental in having AP commit to further discussion, basing the review on assisting users in maximising the potential of the service by leveraging opportunities to increase subscription revenue, more productively utilising fly sheets and, in particular, looking at ways in which reduced costs could be applied for delayed postage and returns.
There was a distinctive collaborative mood in the forums based on the need for an efficient and cost effective system of supply for publishers whilst appreciating the need for the print post service to trade cost effectively, without significant subsidy in which it now operates.
Some of the points raised at the Forum covered: -
- Tolerance for marginal "over the weight break" level.
- Off peak delivery options;
- Personalised cross promotions for magazine stables;
- Inclusion of surveys with personalised data;
- Alternate, delayed, delivery times at a reduced rate for non critical items.
Australia Post assured attendees that further discussions will be held to answer the questions raised and to present a more conciliatory platform to publishers with regard to the flexibility of this significant service.