Royal Mail heeds pricing warning

By Ruth Addicott

The Royal Mail has said it will revise proposals for size-based pricing after consulting publishers who warned that the plans could lead to magazine closures.

The titles most likely to be affected are the bigger B2B weeklies which face vastly increased mail costs for distribution. The Periodical Publishers Association estimates that up to 300 weekly magazines could close or be forced to shrink if the plans go ahead.

In a letter to the PPA, Royal Mail marketing and channel sales director Ross Drake said the consultation process with the magazine industry was “the biggest exercise in listening to our customers in Royal Mail’s history”.

He welcomed the comments from publishers, adding: “The responses have helped us to better understand the impacts on different industry sectors and individual companies. As a result, we are currently working to revise the proposals to take on board many of the points raised, but also to keep the main principles of our initial consultation document.

“We aim to make these revised proposals public later in January. Along with this, we will provide a new ‘impact calculator’ via our account handlers to enable business customers to access the changes.”

The PPA has said the likely timing of any application to Postcomm is March 2003, and there would be no implementation of size-based pricing before early 2004.

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