ABC Ratifies New Circulation Rules

13 March 2001

The Audit Bureau of Circulations over the weekend assented to a new system of calculating newspaper circulation for advertisers.

Under the new regulations, newspaper publishers can count as paid circulation any issue sold for upward of 25% of the cover price, replacing the old threshold of 50%.

However, papers sold to hotel guests can be counted only if they meet the 25% criteria and are requested by the guest or itemized on the bill. If these criteria are not met, then the copies can only count towards bulk circulation, which is deemed less useful to targeting-conscious advertisers.

More details on a paper’s total paid circulation must also be forthcoming. Publishers must reveal to advertisers how many of their copies were sold within the 25%–50% bracket and where discounts in price were offered.

However, the chairman of ABC’s board Matthew Spahn is keen to do more. He commented that the board was still discussing how to rid the term ‘bulk circulation’ of its negative connotations. This form of measurement, says Spahn, “doesn't lack value, it's just paid at a different price; it gives newspapers more marketing flexibility.”

News source: New York Times