Discussion Papers

Manfred Knoche, Axel Zerdick

Postzeitungsdienst und alternative Zustellformen im Vertriebssystem der Presse
Nr. 80 / Februar 1992
(no longer available)


Within the framework of a more extensive study of the postal newspaper and periodical delivery service in Germany, its role within the general system of press distribution has been analysed. Intensive study of specialised literature has been combined with 60 expert interviews with distribution specialists in publishing houses and distribution service companies. A comparison of relative costs of different ways of distribution was to give insight into the probability of the emergence of a new distribution system ("Alternative Delivery Service") as well as into the potential for pricing policies for Deutsche Bundespost.

One result of the study has been a new and more detailed picture of the press distribution system including different levels of physical distribution and its management, and conditions and costs of the elements of the system. These have been used for calculations for more than a hundred periodals and several newspapers, which show the relative profitability of different ways of distribution for any of those press products. As a general result, subscription sales are more profitable than newsstand sales. Within subscription sales, postal delivery (at present rates) is superior to other delivery systems for a large number of products. Press products with a weight of more than about 200 9, however, can be delivered by independent or company distribution agents at lower cost.

For this reason, some publishers show an inclination to switch to other forms of distribution if and when postal delivey rates move up. The existing services within the present distribution system already show a high degree of efficiency and flexibility. These services could be combined into a synenergetic network, which would include publishers not only as customers, but also as providers of services to others; the organisational center of such a system could became the core of a new type of "Alternative Delivery Service". Still publishers are interested in an existing system of postal newspaper and periodical delivery service, because they want to use it for those parts of their circulation for which they have not been able to find a more cost-effective alternative.

Discussion Paper is no longer available. 

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