The Newspaper Society has written to Royal Mail chief executive Adam Crozier calling for a rethink over plans to scrap cheap postal rates for newspaper subscriptions.
The Newspaper Registration Service allows papers to be sent first class at second-class rates. It was introduced in the mid-1800s to enable publishers to reach readers living in remote areas not well served by newsagents.
Newspaper Society director David Newell, in a letter to Crozier, warns that a withdrawal of the service could have a devastating impact on newspapers and their readers, particularly in rural communities.
He added: “Against the backdrop of an ageing population and the erosion of independent retail outlets, newspapers and their readers are more reliant on the registration service today than ever before.
“Many titles have small distribution budgets and would not be able to absorb the additional cost of moving to first class postage rates. Passing the increased cost on to readers will inevitably lead to cancelled subscriptions and lost sales.”
Newell also claimed: “The Newspaper Registration Service is one of the structures on which regional newspapers serving rural communities have built their businesses. Its withdrawal would be devastating for many of these newspapers and would threaten a lifeline of local news and information for many readers across the UK.”
Newell has told Crozier he believes that the Royal Mail has an obligation to the communities it serves and urges him to reconsider the proposed withdrawal of the service.
He added that publishers would welcome a meeting to discuss the industry’s concerns about the proposed ending of the registration service.
By Jon Slattery