ABC brings back

By: Mark Fitzgerald

‘event sales’ rule
After surprising publishers this spring by abruptly ending its popular “event sales” policy, the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) once again is letting newspapers count
as paid circulation copies that are included in the ticket prices for football games, concerts, job fairs, and other special events.
This time around, however, the new event sale policy is loaded with qualifiers intended to prevent the complaints about abuse that led ABC to cancel the program barely a year after it was begun.
Among the modifications is one that hints at those past problems: “No newspaper-only checkrooms will be allowed.” At some events in the past year, patrons entering an event could dump their newspapers in “checkrooms.” A copy could have been counted as paid circulation whether or not anyone returned to pick it up.
The new rules, which go into effect Aug. 1, also require that copies sold at events “have content consistent with newspapers sold in the same advertising zone as the event location.” In the past year, some papers complained that competitors at championship sporting events were counting preprinted “victory” newspapers that had little resemblance to their normal newspaper.
ABC is also cracking down on just what an “event” is. Under the new rules, ABC must qualify all events in advance. All signs with admission prices must note that the price of a newspaper is included, and patrons must be able to get a refund if they choose not to take a paper.
Details of the new event sales rules are posted on ABC Web site at http://www.
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