Identifying Circulation Criteria

Mike Lavery
Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC)

Circulation. The word itself suggests the lifeblood or essence of something; an ability to deliver critical resources to key segments of any functioning system. Certainly, the publishing industry has continued to function with a resilient life of its own through decades of change and challenge. In the United States, circulation has become the accepted measure of any publishing house's health and stability. But in the streamlined marketplace of the future, where long-term success means learning to produce more with less, what role will circulation play?

There's no debating that print media has weathered some tough times lately. In large part, this reflects broader economic woes that have taken a painful bite out of numerous business sectors. But print, like all media, faces a constantly evolving set of challenges. Governmental regulations have impacted marketing strategy. Weather and socio-political conditions have affected retail sales. Emerging, evolving media alternatives have crowded the market, competing vigorously for advertiser attention. And advertisers, themselves grappling with constricted budgets, have grown scrupulous in their analysis — and exceedingly detailed when it comes to evaluating performance claims.