PPA suggests option to size-based pricing

PPA’s proposed rise in tolerance threshold would favour covermounts

The PPA said its suggestions were more cost-reflective than the existing proposals and would enable publishers to accommodate different sizes without being faced with heavy costs – allowing them to budget more effectively with their advertising and promotional plans.

The PPA suggested that for magazines more than 10mm thick, the 2mm tolerance threshold should be increased to 5mm and an intermediary price line should be introduced for any item that is more than 10mm thick but whose surface varies in depth by between 5mm and 10mm.

Royal Mail’s existing proposals state that if the surface of a magazine of 10mm thickness or above falls outside a tolerance of 2mm, the item would be classed as a packet rather than a large letter, leading to a big increase in costs.

The main concern for publishers is the point at which a mailpiece becomes a packet and finding a simple way of pricing and managing the process.

The PPA told Royal Mail that any uniformity criteria would have to take into account a number of points, including changes in paper specification due to storage conditions (heat/ cold, etc) and changes in pagination due to advertising or extra editorial coverage. Other concerns include inserts shifting position while in transit and subsequently causing differences in thickness as well as different methods of binding and promotional activity.

The latest proposal by the PPA is also likely to be welcomed by music, film, gaming and computing titles as it takes inserts, supplements, CDs and DVDs into account. The PPA said supplements would inevitably exceed 2mm – and in some cases 5mm – but added that they are paper-based products that would not largely alter the handling characteristics of the magazine. As for the distribution of CDs and DVDs, the PPA said sleeves were unpopular and inefficient and suggested that as an alternative, they could be put in a slim jewel case (5mm) or a standard sized one (8mm).

Royal Mail was this week considering the proposals.

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