MPA is the primary advocate for the magazine media industry.
In addition to having a product that consumers value and trust, the success of the industry also depends on maintaining an economic and regulatory environment that allows the publication and delivery of information through magazine media to continue to flourish. To support this goal, MPA is the primary advocate that educates federal and state policy makers about the contributions of the magazine media industry to the economy, our communities, the lives of our consumers, and society. Each of the issues below is important to ensuring the long-term viability of the magazine media industry and the many benefits it offers to consumers and society.
– Reader trust powers the magazine media industry, and the responsible use of consumer data is one important way that magazine publishers maintain and create high levels of reader trust. Magazine media brands leverage the responsible use of consumer data to deliver to readers the insightful, meaningful and world-changing content they expect. MPA supports a national privacy framework that ensures consumers have clear, enforceable data privacy protections; control over the use of their personal information; and greater transparency into businesses’ data protection practices, while preserving the benefits that come from the responsible use of data. MPA promotes lawmaker awareness of issues specific to the magazine media industry and the unique trusted relationship that magazine media brands foster through their first-party relationship with their readers.
Postal Rates and Regulations
– Magazine publishers send more than 3 billion magazines a year to consumers through the U.S. Postal Service, around 90% of all magazine circulation in the U.S. MPA seeks to maintain an affordable and reliable postal system that can effectively provide universal service throughout the U.S. for the foreseeable future. Federal law mandates that the US Postal Service enjoys monopoly access to the mailbox - meaning mailers and private sector delivery services (which might offer competitive pricing) cannot deliver products directly to customer mailboxes. Mailers therefore have limited alternative delivery options outside of the Postal Service and remain captive to USPS pricing. Current law caps annual postage rate increase to inflation. MPA believes above-inflation increases will dramatically reduce postal volumes and hurt the viability of USPS. Further, MPA is extremely concerned about dramatic cost increases and falling productivity for periodicals and other flat-shaped mail, and believes that the Postal Service must improve flats processing operations and should not be rewarded with higher rates for failing to address “underwater” class problems.
The inflation price cap is currently under review by the Postal Service’s regulator, the Postal Regulatory Commission. The Commission has proposed allowing the Postal Service to raise prices far beyond inflation. MPA has produced an easy to read magazine to explain the PRC’s proposal and the unintended consequences it would trigger. In addition to hurting magazines, newspapers, charities and all their beneficiaries, it would ultimately hurt everyone that uses or cares about the Postal Service, including the Postal Service itself.
- Advertising is a major source of revenue for magazine media, and advertising revenue allows magazine media brands to deliver to readers the trusted, meaningful content they expect. As the advertising ecosystem continues to evolve in response to industry and regulatory changes, MPA advocates for policies that recognize the importance of the first-party relationship between magazine publishers and their readers, and for policies that preserve the ability of magazine publishers to serve both the content and advertising that is expected by readers and relevant to their interests. MPA supports the First Amendment rights of commercial speech and opposes product specific restrictions that impact commercial speech protections. MPA also supports the long-standing tax treatment of advertising expenses as fully deductible “ordinary and necessary” business expenses.
– MPA strongly supports the treatment of magazine media as exempt under state sales tax systems. Almost one half of the states recognize the value of magazine media in educating and informing readers, and do not tax sales of magazine subscriptions. On the federal level, MPA supports continued treatment of advertising expenses as ordinary and necessary business expenses. Taxing advertising decreases advertising budgets which in turn decreases purchase activity driven by advertising. The consequences of changing the current treatment of advertising would ripple through the entire economy from media companies, advertisers and their agencies to the multitude of industries – including manufacturing, agriculture, healthcare, finance, housing, retail trade and construction – that depend on advertising to move their products and services.
– Magazine media publishers create content for print, online and mobile platforms. As publishers develop new ways to connect and enhance their reader’s brand experience through a broader array of distribution platforms, protection of intellectual property is of ever-increasing importance. Magazine publishers are both creators and users of copyrighted works. MPA supports the copyright “fair use” doctrine, advocating to protect the ownership rights of publishers as content creators, while defending their ability to make lawful use of copyrighted works.
– Magazine media publishers use a variety of methods to market to and service current and potential magazine subscribers, including trial offers and automatic renewals. MPA is active on both the federal and state level in seeking to ensure that legislative proposals impacting magazine media audience development strategies are appropriately balanced and workable for both consumers and sellers of goods and services. MPA supports clear disclosure to potential subscribers of material terms of magazine offers while opposing overly restrictive or unnecessary requirements that interfere with publishers’ creative flexibility without enhancing consumer understanding.
First Amendment Overview
- From its inception in 1919, a principal element of MPA's mission has been "to defend the freedom to write and publish under the First Amendment.” Magazine publishers provide exceptional content that meets the highest journalistic standards. Toward this end, MPA closely monitors developments in all areas of media law – in the courts and in federal and state legislatures – and participates in litigation and other advocacy efforts to defend the rights of its members and their advertisers. Additionally, MPA works closely with social media platforms to ensure journalistic protections for our members.
Magazine media brands are long-standing, recognizable and trusted by consumers and advertisers. They communicate with authority using professionally researched, written, edited and produced curated content that is delivered in safe environments, whether on paper or on digital platforms.
First Amendment editorial and commercial freedom is a key pillar of the magazine media industry that strengthens the relationship between publisher and subscriber and connects readers to the publications they trust and value most. The industry has, and will continue to play, a prominent role defending and promoting the nation’s right to freedom of speech and a free press.
- MPA’s long-standing involvement in environmental matters stems from its members’ desire to support and implement responsible and economically sound environmental policies and procedures related to the full lifecycles of our magazine products, from raw materials to well-read copies. MPA monitors key environmental developments on the federal, state, and international level.
MPA’s primary areas of concern include sustainable forestry practices and certification standards, minimizing the impact of pulp and paper production processes, and promoting the recovery of used magazines and other used paper for recycling.
MPA also works to encourage consumers to recycle more magazines. Although 100 percent of the magazines that are unsold at the newsstand have always been recycled, many consumers and local municipalities are unaware that recycling mills need more magazine stock to make newsprint and other grades of recycled paper.