After eight decades as the leading watchdog for paid circulation, the Audit Bureau of Circulations will begin auditing total market coverage (TMC) products and other free papers offered by member publishers.
The Audit Bureau’s board of directors decided “to immediately explore auditing services” for TMCs and other nonpaid newspapers owned or operated by members.
In other action at the meeting, the board decided there would be no rate increase for dues, member services, report services, pricing or audits for the 1997 fiscal year.
Also, ABC created a New Media Committee that will advise on interactive and new media issues.
ABC said the TMC auditing project will be evaluated at its meeting next November and again in March 1997 “with the objective of formalizing the service, including rules and format changes, at the July 1997 meeting.”
Distribution claims and audit findings for free papers and TMC products will be issued as supplements to members’ regular publisher’s statements or audit reports, the Audit Bureau said.
Audit Bureau directors also approved a test in which member publications can provide subscribers to their print edition with access to an interactive edition at a price discount without affecting the qualification of their print edition subscribers. The test runs through March 1997 and is subject to some conditions.
Audit Bureau’s 82nd conference and annual meeting will be held Nov. 13-16 at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto, Ontario.