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Will Australia Post Back Down - Major Pressure Being Applied to Reverse Print Increase

23 Jun 2009

Several meetings will be held tomorrow in Sydney between Australia Post executives, Rod Rose, Robert Gomezel and Jo Willoughby. They will be meeting with Australia's largest B2B publishing house, Reed Business Information, along with David Docherty, managing director of D&D Mailing Services. Docherty outlined in a recent letter to Australia Post and published in last weeks edition of Publishing Edge, the inequitable nature of the postage rate increase. Other meetings will take place with senior executives of the Intermedia Group, Haymarket Media and Publishers Australia. Nick Chan of Pacific Publications and chairman of the Magazine Publishers Association (MPA) will also be in attendance.


Publishers Australia have forwarded a letter to Government Ministers, the Ombudsman and Australia Post board members yesterday. The contents of this letter are, in part, covered in Publishers Australia's media statement sent to us this morning and reproduced in full.


Following last weeks edition of Publishing Edge highlighting the backlash to the Australia Post price increases a memo was forwarded by John Gillroy, CEO of Major Mail Users Association (MMUA) to Australia Post's Allan Robinson - group manager letters group and Alex Twomey - corporate affairs. MMUA represents heavyweight mail users such as NAB, Commonwealth Bank, NRMA, Centrelink and the Australian Taxation Office amongst others. Publishing Edge has a copy of this memo which reads, in part:


"From MMUA's position we have thus had ample notice of the date of effect and quantum of price hike. That information also being available for our interested members who signed the required Confidentiality Agreements concerned." said Gillroy,


"If we were asked to comment about the manner in which LETTERS handles postage price increases in general, we would be less than flattering - quite damning in fact; That I have made my point on behalf of our members repeatedly over the past 12 months or so, and on their behalf have offered to participate in a changed approach, only to be treated scornfully by LETTERS in a manner that underscores the lack of marketplace sensitivity that has so incensed the magazine publishers quoted in the above articles attachment letter/report - we know exactly what they mean and we know it from bitter experience; that the sadly pedestrian, lack-luster, non-innovative approach to PRINT POST is a reflection of the Monopoly Mentality that sees PRINT POST (and the great growth-potential area of MAGAZINES) as a milch-cow rather than the marketplace opportunity it has for development through market-driven initiatives."


The memo goes on to say, "In November last year Australia Post launched, at a breakfast function, their magazine, SUBSCRIBE. In Issue 1, Allan Robinson has commented that , "90% per cent of all magazines continue to be sold via newsstands, ....maximising subscriptions is the key to successfully increasing sales..." Gillroy concludes, "The cynics amongst our ranks have asked, in the light of Allan's statement, as to whether putting up Print Post cost is going to help sell the concept of using the mail as a viable and attractive alternative to newsstand sales."


Interest in this memo centres around the 'required Confidentiality Agreement' as well as the apparent contradiction of Australia Post methodology in launching their own magazine to promote more subscriptions at the increase in cost for publishers.


 Reports of unfolding events will be published daily in the NEWS pages (both on HOME and NEWS) on this site



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