PRC denies newspaper group’s request to delay Valassis deal

The Postal Regulatory Commission has denied a request from the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) to stay the implementation of the US Postal Service’s discounted rate deal with Valassis.

The newspaper group claims its members will be “irreparably harmed” because they “would be unable to take advantage of the discounted rates granted only to Valassis” by the PRC.

The PRC found that

The NAA’s hypothetical loss is based on the unrealistic assumption that all current newspaper revenue for advertising that might be eligible for inclusion under the Valassis NSA will disappear… If some newspapers have to adjust their advertising rates (and/or attempt to negotiate lower private carrier distribution rates) this is not unreasonable harm. It is a consequence of fair competition.

Finally, the PRC challenged the NAA’s claim that Valassis was getting favored treatment in the first place, noting that:

Should newspapers now decide that they wish to deliver FSIs (“free standing inserts”) through the mail, it would seem that they could qualify as similarly situated to Valassis as they would be bringing new FSI business to the Postal Service.