New rules on how magazine circulations are counted received the final green-light by the Audit Bureau of Circulations on Saturday.

At the heart of the reforms is the abolition of the ‘50% rule’, whereby magazines sold for less than half the basic price could not be counted as paid circulation. Although such copies can now be included, publishers must also supply advertisers with more detailed information on the cost of subscriptions.

“It’s certainly the most significant change I’ve seen since I’ve been in the business,” enthused ABC board member and circulation director at Hachette Filipacchi Magazines David Leckey. “This was something that no one rushed into. It’s been an effort, but it’s something that will benefit both publishers and advertisers.”

The new regulations will allow magazine publishers more flexibility in creating rate bases they can guarantee to advertisers, who in turn can more effectively gauge readers’ interest in titles.

Online editions of newspapers also came under scrutiny by the ABC. To count as electronic editions, they must be openly identified as versions of the main title, though differences in the editorial and advertising are acceptable. In order to be included as paid circulation, subscriptions to electronic newspapers must be sold for at least 25% of the basic price.

News sources:; Advertising Age - Daily Deadline