ABC Board Approves U.S. Newspaper Rule Changes, Freezes Audit Rates for Fourth Consecutive Year
Appoints New Directors, Agrees to Expand Board
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (July 27, 2010)—The board of the Audit Bureau of Circulations approved a series of changes to U.S. newspaper rules to coincide with other broad modifications set to take effect in October.
The new policies include fresh standards for newspaper subscriptions that include digital editions while addressing the growing market for paid content across multiple platforms, such as e-readers and mobile apps. The board’s aim is to establish a foundation for the future as more newspapers move to bundled print/digital subscription offers and hybrid publishing plans.
The new rules also introduce the concept of a “branded edition”—a publication of the ABC member newspaper often targeted at a specific audience or geography but containing a different name. Beginning Oct. 1, 2010, these editions may be included in a newspaper’s total average circulation.
The extensive changes for U.S. newspapers are reflected in a new prototype ABC Publisher’s Statement, which was given final board approval and takes effect with the March 2011 reporting period. It incorporates branded editions, subscriptions via e-readers, websites, and mobile apps, readership data, and a new “verified” category of nonpaid circulation.
For complete details of these most recent board actions and a U.S. implementation timeline, view a summary posted on ABC’s website.
Board Actions Affecting Magazines
For U.S. and Canadian consumer magazines, the board modified the public notification policies that address the late filing of ABC Publisher’s Statements. The board also agreed that claims of analyzed nonpaid bulk circulation can include replica digital editions accessed via an unrestricted website.
The magazine committee of the ABC board has formed a task force to examine new publishing platforms and how to best incorporate these distribution methods on ABC reports. The goal is to allow publishers to present advertisers with a more comprehensive picture of a magazine’s publishing channels—across print and digital platforms—while providing the transparency and data required by media planners and buyers. The task force anticipates finalizing its recommendations by early 2011.
For U.S. and Canadian business publications, the ABC board approved a new policy allowing publishers to report products with different frequencies as separate circulation averages. This will give more visibility to digital products that are published weekly, for example, as a complement to a monthly print edition. The board also agreed that farm publications could use ABC’s multimedia report to detail an array of print and digital media distribution.
Other Key ABC Board Actions
The ABC board agreed to freeze audit rates and prices in 2011, the fourth consecutive year in which rates have been held in place.
The board also announced it would expand from 36 to 38 directors, adding one Canadian newspaper publisher and an additional director to represent North American advertisers or ad agencies.
ABC announced it would conduct another advisory vote of its U.S. and Canadian newspaper members. Publishers will be asked to provide input on new membership eligibility standards under consideration for daily and weekly newspapers. The results of this nonbinding vote, and a vote recently conducted in April, will be discussed in November at a divisional meeting open to all ABC newspapers.
ABC also announced the appointment of two new directors to the board: Christopher P. Schembri, vice president of media services at AT&T, and Shelagh Stoneham, vice president of brand and marketing communications at Rogers Communications Inc.
The ABC board of directors meeting was held July 21-23 in Newport, Rhode Island. For a complete summary of board actions, visit ABC’s Virtual Pressroom.
ABC is a forum of North America's leading magazine and newspaper publishers, advertisers and advertising agencies. The organization provides credible, verified information essential to the media buying and selling process. ABC maintains the world’s foremost online database of audited circulation information and a growing array of readership, audience and website usage data. ABC’s digital arm, ABC Interactive, is one of the world’s leading independent auditors of websites and digital ad-based technology. To learn more, visit http://www.accessabc.com.
Corporate Communications Contacts:
Executive Vice President, Strategic Planning and Communications and General Manager, Digital Services