Media Business: What are some of the big issues you're dealing with?
Arnone: The USPS is rearing its head again with more changes. This time it is droop-testing publications. If you're too limp, they don't want to mail you without a penalty. Many publications, suffering from a downturn in total number of ads and the subsequent loss in page count, are less stable then before and might be affected.
MB: How is the potential for five-day postal delivery affecting you?
Arnone: It will be interesting to see how the post office complies with the established standards for timely delivery. The present standard for periodicals is one to seven days. Those of us who mail periodicals are well aware that, even with the use of additional drops, the post office does not presently meet this timetable. My organization typically sees delivery times spanning a range double this. There is no doubt that cutting a day would save money, with estimates placing the amount at over $1.5 billion. It is equally important to note that nothing is said about what it will do to improve service, because it won't. Nothing will. Publishers are the victims each time the post office institutes its latest round of changes. Changes are implemented with the promise they will allow the service to deliver fewer pieces in a more mechanized way, leading to greater efficiency and subsequent cost savings. Unfortunately, that has yet to happen. —M.J.M.