2 New ABC Initiatives Introduced at NAA

By: Jennifer Saba The beautiful weather outside the Newspaper Association of America's annual convention in San Francisco yesterday didn't stop publishers from staying in for a mid-afternoon meeting on managing for Audit Bureau of Circulations compliance. About 150 attendees skipped the links to hear the latest on circulation regulations.

The breakout session covered familiar ground, discussing newly implemented rules, like the limit on days omitted. However, ABC's president and managing director, Mike Lavery, announced that issues under consideration that could affect insert advertising and free papers.

More fully formed is an initiative planned for this summer, under which ABC will begin a beta test of auditing preprints. ABC staff and an advisory committee are developing local audits that would count the number of inserts at the distribution level.

In this test phase, an auditor would choose random samples by ZIP code and use a replacement package of FSIs. Auditors would then count and match the number of inserts collected in the sample.

Lavery called for 12 volunteer papers in small, medium, and large markets to undergo the beta testing. He emphasized the results will not be made public. The organization is also still considering how to report the results of the audits if it actually becomes a new rule.

Another initiative that ABC is examining would expand its footprint with free papers. The organization currently audits free papers that are mainly home-delivered and are owned or operated by an ABC paid member. Lavery said that ABC is considering letting non-paid papers into the fold. "The subject is controversial. I don't want to suggest the next report will include that," he said, stressing the idea is still being evaluated.


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