Key Notes – Volume 03 Number 24

Bipartisan House Leaders Introduce New Proposal to Overhaul the USPS – House leaders with oversight of the U.S. Postal Service introduced bipartisan draft legislation this week to overhaul the mailing agency, expressing confidence their measure would finally push Congress to pass a bill that has eluded it for nearly 10 years.  The 2016 Postal Service Reform Act, introduced by Reps. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and Elijah Cummings, D-Md., the respective chairman and ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.  In releasing the draft, the members issued the following statement:  “The Postal Service is in dire financial shape.  Without reform now, the problems will only worsen and reform will become far more difficult to accomplish. This bipartisan legislative solution provides the opportunity for the Postal Service to return to solvency.” One of the key highlights would allow the Postal Service to increase rates for market-dominant products (catalogs and magazines) by 2.15%.   It would give the PRC until 2018 to review how the pricing structure should be set going forward, a study the regulators are currently undertaking. The bill would compel the PRC to consider factors such as financial stability, customer experience and delivery timelines in making its determinations.  For more information, click here to view discussion draft and here for a one-page summary. Source:  Oversight & Government Reform & Government Executive

Paper Placemats that Play Music – Wasn’t it fun when we were kids to doodle on restaurants’ paper placements with crayons?  Well, McDonald’s has introduced a high-tech, musical version of that sort of play with McTrax—a snazzy placemat that acts like a little music production station.  TBWA\Neboko in the Netherlands created McTrax.  The placemat, developed with This Page Amsterdam, uses conductive ink, a small battery and a thin circuit board with 26 digital touch points.  You put your phone on it, download an app and make music with in-house produced audio loops, synthesis and musical effects.  See it in action here.  Source:  Adweek

Study Reveals Magazines Are Worth the Ad Spend – Advertisers may want to rethink their media mix after a recent study revealed that magazine advertising equals big returns.  According to data collected from Nielsen Catalina Solutions, magazines offer the highest average return on advertising spend (ROAS) with a return of $3.94 on every dollar spent.  Cost certainly impacts the ROAS, however the cheapest form of advertising—display—falls considerably short in comparison to magazines with an ROAS of just $2.63, thus indicating magazines are not an investment advertisers should be running away from.  Source:  Min

Increasing Your Magazine’s Value with Customization – Get ready for the rise of mass-customized “B2Me” magazines.  Once a pipe dream, the concept of magazines that are tailored to each reader is now a reality.   Consider, for example, ZEB magazine of Belgium, which has a print run of 150,000 copies that are so customized and personalized that no two copies are alike.  Recent developments have made it feasible and potentially profitable for publishers to provide far more customization of their printed magazines than in the recent past. There’s real opportunity, but also new challenges for magazine publishers.  Source:  Publishing Executive

10 Killer Reasons Why You should be Using Print – Contrary to the heralded demise of print, it’s alive and kicking.  And, according to these media experts, it’s here to stay.  Many of the brands that abandoned their print products during the recession have been clambering back into the world of ink on paper. Why?  Because it works!  Print increases engagement, drives sales and cements relationships.  Click here to read the 10 reasons from five content experts to find out why print is still relevant in a digital world.  Source:  Content

What is Postal Explorer? – Postal Explorer is a virtual library of postal information and tools designed for U.S. Postal Service customers, business mailers, and employees.  It puts a wealth of postal requirements for mailing and shipping domestically, internationally, and to APO/FPO/DPO destinations, at your fingertips in an easy-to-use format.  Postal Explorer is more than a reference website; it is part of the Postal Service’s continuing effort to make using the mail system easier and simpler for all customers. It was developed in direct response to what mailers have told the Postal Service, both informally and through customer surveys, about postal information needs. Source:  Postal Explorer