ABC Board Approves New Standards

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By: Jennifer Saba

With circulation declines hitting the industry, more and more newspapers are emphasizing readership and subscriber profiles. In 1999, the Audit Bureau of Circulations introduced a method for tracking reader profiles and did the same in 2001 for subscriber profiles. This month the board further revised these standards on the recommendation of the reader and subscriber profile committee, which consists of buyers, newspapers, magazines and researchers.

The board voted during its March 10-13 meeting to modify the policy on Newspapers in Education (NIE) copies for college students, qualifying copies that are paid for by a sponsor. Copies will now be classified as “registered college student copies” rather than the former “third party bulk.”

The board also unanimously approved the following changes regarding reader profiles: providing national newspapers the option to exclude reporting percentage of adult coverage, percent reach, and percentage of occupied household coverage; national newspapers can now choose to study geographic areas that are not necessarily adjacent or overlapping.

The board also voted to remove the current 36-month period for subscriber profile reports and require a prominent notation of the date the study was conducted. It also approved a new subscriber profile standard to allow for group or combined reporting; and allow both the reader and subscriber profiles to publicize their studies’ results prior to the release of the final audit document.

The ABC board of directors meets three times a year — March, July and November.

ABC also announced today expansion plans for its training programs addressing circulation, verified readership, subscriber research and online data.

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