The UK Audit Bureau of Circulations is reportedly mulling a major revamp of the way bulk sales of newspapers and magazines are reported.

A committee is said to be consulting with publishers and investigating how to distinguish between bulk sales that offer a real opportunity for sampling and those that are simply excuses to dump copies and boost circulation.

The nation’s newspaper groups currently employ different bulk sales practices. Telegraph Group recently dropped most of its bulk deals, a decision that will see its November and December circulation figures fall by an estimated 50,000.

However, far from following the Telegraph’s lead, other British broadsheets are stepping in to fill the contracts their rival has abandoned. For example, The Times is said to have forged bulk deals with Hilton hotels and Great Western Trains, both former Telegraph clients.

The ABC is believed to be looking into how ‘legitimate’ bulk sales can be singled out and reported separately in circulation figures. It is also examining differences between the rules governing each publishing sector.

Data sourced from: Media Week (UK); additional content by WARC staff