Newspaper Association ‘Stunned’ by Approval of USPS-Valassis Services Agreement
ARLINGTON, VA—August 23, 2012—The Newspaper Association of America is stunned by the U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission’s decision to approve an anti-competitive and damaging negotiated services agreement (or special contract rate) between the U.S. Postal Service and Valassis Direct Mail.
“NAA believes this decision is contrary to law, and will challenge it immediately and vigorously in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit,” said NAA Chairman James M. Moroney III, CEO and publisher of The Dallas Morning News.
Prior to the decision, NAA and its members called on Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe to acknowledge the overwhelming opposition expressed by the newspaper industry and others in the mailing community during this proceeding, and urged him to withdraw this special deal that benefits only one mailer.
As NAA’s comments filed with the PRC noted, granting this special rate to one major competitor in the mailing business will cause significant financial harm to newspapers throughout the country, and will not improve the financial condition of the nation’s postal system.
“In reaching this decision, the Postal Regulatory Commission ignored the many compelling comments it received objecting to a profoundly anti-competitive proposal,” said Caroline H. Little, NAA president and CEO. “In fact, the Public Representative appointed by the commission itself to represent the views of the general public pointed out that this is the ‘first NSA that is designed to manipulate prices and to alter the balance of market forces.’ The Public Representative also said that ‘this NSA as currently structured is a lose-lose proposition for both the newspaper industry and the Postal Service.’
“The nation’s newspapers and the Postal Service share a long history of working together to keep Americans informed and connected with one another,” Little added. “The Postal Service should focus on cutting costs and getting the mail delivered on time – and not on using rates to confer a significant and unwarranted advantage on one competitor at the expense of an entire industry. This special arrangement calls into question whether the Postal Service should offer these types of deals in the first place.”
NAA is a nonprofit organization representing nearly 2,000 newspapers and their multiplatform businesses in the United States and Canada. NAA members include daily newspapers, as well as nondailies, other print publications and online products. Headquartered near Washington, D.C., in Arlington, Va., the association focuses on the major issues that affect today’s newspaper industry: public policy/legal matters, advertising revenue growth and audience development across the medium’s broad portfolio of products and digital platforms.