Re-learning Your ABC's

By: T he circulation scandals of last year did not spread widely, but since then the Audit Bureau of Circulations has changed a series of rules that will most likely affect numbers over the next several reporting periods:

1. 10-days-omitted rule, effective since Oct. 1, 2004: In the past, ABC permitted unlimited days that papers could strike from the total circulation average. For example, if a paper had a low circ day due to bad weather or a holiday, they were allowed to omit that day from its reporting. Now, papers can omit only 10 days over a 12-month audit period.

2. Day-of-week reporting, effective April 1, 2005: Newspapers now have to report circulation on a daily basis in addition to reporting daily averages (e.g., for Monday through Friday). The paper has the option of also running another average, like Monday through Saturday or any other emphasized period.

3. Third-party sales breakout, effective April 1, 2005: Newspapers will now have to show third-party sales made through barter agreements on a separate line item, with disclosure of the program's details in an explanatory paragraph.


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