ABC Moves Closer to Counting Any Paid Circ

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By: Jennifer Saba

The board of the Audit Bureau of Circulations has voted to modify changes that will affect how newspapers report to the organization.

These changes apply to rules that organization voted on last July — U.S. dailies will be able to report circulation as long as it’s paid.

As it stands now, individually paid circulation is broken out on the FAS-FAX and publisher’s statement in two categories: copies sold at 50% or more of the basic price and copies sold between 25% and 50% of the basic price. Those categories will no longer be a part of the reports.

However, ABC voted on Friday that if a newspaper sells more than 5% of its circulation below 25% of the average price, it will be noted — just not on the FAS-FAX or pub statement. The information will be made available to advertisers through an ABC database. Because of these changes, the board voted to discontinue plans to require newspapers also to report an average price.

These are the latest tweaks to a wide range of changes the organization announced in the summer. The board met this past week in New York.

In a statement, Merle Davidson, the newly elected chairman of the ABC board and director of media services at J.C. Penney, said: “Many newspapers and their advertisers are under increasing economic pressure. The ABC board is finalizing the implementation of a broad set of sweeping rule changes that will help to lower costs, streamline audits, better define circulation categories, and provide greater pricing and marketing flexibility for publishers.”

Along with Davidson, ABC members elected the following slate of board officers:

Vice Chairs: Charles Rutman, CEO of MPG; David Leckey, American Media Inc.; Brian Segal, president and CEO of Rogers Publishing; Craig Sinclair, vice president of advertising at Walgreen Co.

Secretary: Vikki Schwartzman, vice president, media director L’Oreal USA

Treasurer: Dennis Skulsky, president and CEO Publishing, Canwest.

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