‘Star-Ledger’ Reduces Daily Circ in Revised Statement

By: Jennifer Saba

The Star-Ledger in Newark, N.J. has quietly revised its publisher statement filed with the Audit Bureau of Circulations for the September 2006 period.

The change reduces the paper’s Monday through Friday daily average by 4% from 378,100 to 363,100 copies. Sunday declined 2.6% from 580,640 to 565,640.

ABC spokesman Neal Lulofs said revising publisher’s statements is “unusual but not unprecedented.”

The reason for the change, according to Publisher George Arwady, was because the Star-Ledger wanted to prune its third party circulation, often considered to be less valuable to advertisers.

In a statement to E&P, Arwady wrote, “By revising the number, totally in conformance with ABC rules, the Star-Ledger was reflecting its post-September 30 decision to reduce its third-party or sponsored sales. This revision makes the statement more reflective of current distribution and better serves advertisers using the report.”

Tthe Advance-owned paper has made this move before and has adjusted its publisher’s statement for three periods over the course of six years. In some cases, the modification increased the paper’s circulation.

The New York Post’s Keith Kelly first reported on the Star-Ledger’s move today.

Publishers are allowed to adjust circulation up until the next period’s statement is due. The deadline for filing to make the spring 2007 FAS-FAX was April 15. The Star-Ledger submitted the new numbers on March 20, says Lulofs.

The paper’s yearly audit is scheduled to begin shortly. “We will certainly inquire about it,” says Lulofs about the revision.

ABC rules specify that its board could punish papers for any of the following offenses including filing a false or fraudulent publisher’s statement or if an audit adjusts a paper’s circulation by 5% or more.

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