Friday, September 14, 2012

Transition in National Print Media

Mail Clip Art

            This observation of print media’s transition is from recent e-news articles that are reporting a shift in the means of distribution of printed retail advertising inserts. The business deal from a leading direct-mail company is relevant to the transition in print media culture and the future of my coupon collection. This acknowledgment of an aspect of print media culture’s transitional process contributes to the printed coupons longevity.
            Valassis Communications has a business partnership with the United States Postal Service (USPS). The deal is aimed to increase Valassis’ mailings of ad circulars by a million pieces of mail within the next year and is estimated to bring $15 million dollars over a three-year period to USPS.[1] Valassis Communications is one of the leading corporations in the marketing service industry as well as a distributor of coupons. The company deals by means of postal mail, newspaper, and internet.[2] The transition in the print media culture, especially with newspapers, has contributed to the Valasis Communications business deal with the USPS.
            The e-article Newspapers and the Postal Service, Both Struggling for Survival, Wage War on Each Other in the Tech&Trend section of the International Business Times focuses on the similarities of newspapers and USPS. Both have struggled to adapt to electronic communication, and rely heavily on advertisers for an income source. As the article’s title expresses, a tight market has placed these traditional allies of print media in a position to become competitors. Newspapers and the USPS share an advertiser driven model that has maintained an income and provided services, for next to nothing, that have provided a communication source for Americans to stay informed and connected.[3] Newspapers have not shifted to be completely online because of the revenue from advertising circulars in the Sunday editions.
            The attention to the advertisers needs was referred to in my blog, Local & National Print Media Observation on Tues. June 26, 2012. I specified an NPR interview with Times-Picayune reporter, Mark Schleifstein and his mention of the “unknown” with the transition in print media culture. He relates these concepts of the unknown not only to keeping an audience with the new products (internet base), but also the effect of keeping the advertisers happy with the new products. I continue in the June 26th blog post with my Print Media Coupon as Artifact essay that sites a 2008 MSN Money article that about 75% of coupons are issued in the Sunday paper as well as grocery and drug companies that have no plans to stop printed-paper coupons until consumers further use of the e-coupons. My references not only related to Schleifstein’s comment, but also the business deal between Valassis Communications and USPS. The agreement not only produces a well-needed revenue for the USPS, it provides Valassis Communications with a distributor that is focused on print media content.
            The Newspaper Association of America (NAA) is stunned with the deal that will create an “anti-competitive” environment, according to the International Business Times article. The newspapers will lose advertising dollars to the competitor (USPS) with the direct mail service.[4] The New York Times e-news article ends with a post office statement that the deal will help with the mail service and not harm newspapers revenue. The statement continues with the ad circular that is distributed by the mail service would be from national retailers and would not include ads from regional or local advertisers.
            With my experience of receiving coupons in the postal mail and through my local paper, there is a dissimilarity of the type of distribution that is mentioned in the New York Times article. These categories of national and regional/ local retailers are implying a “cut and dry” idea of division between newspaper and postal mail delivery. I receive three styles of ad circulars or coupon base content from my postal mail delivery. I do receive a Valassis Communications style ad circular each week, which is its consumer brand RedPlum.[5] RedPlum presents a packet to my area of local and regional grocery store ads as well as national and local restaurant coupons. Other distributors of local business coupons are the Clipper magazine, which is an ad booklet, and I receive an envelope of savings from ValuPak. The envelope contains single printed sheet ads with local coupons to use in my local county within my state. I would estimate that I receive as many local coupons from the postal mail as I do with my local newspaper. This dissimilarity from the postal service statement in my area could have many contributing factors. Such as the postal service direct method of distribution of print media and my local paper raising the price of the print edition. These are assumption since my research has not gone in the direction of local business means of advertising.  
            The Valassis Communications business deal with the USPS is a demonstrated act toward the longevity of the print media coupon. Since I receive a Valassis Communications style ad circular I will look for any new inclusions to the style I have been receiving for a year. This deal brings new questions to the newspaper industry for the products they will be offering to their advertisers. The deal contributes a new insight to the print media culture transition. Currently for the collecting process of the coupon collection this is an indication of another transitional point beyond the visual image of a print media coupon and a QR code.

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