Total Consumer Accounts

  1. Introduction
  2. Circulation Analyzed for TCA
  3. Worksheet for Calculating the TCA Metric
  4. Instructions for Calculating the TCA Metric
  5. Helpful Tips

Introduction

A consumer marketing approach that bundles print, digital and branded editions gives newspapers the potential to include multiple circulation units (as paid, qualified or combination of both) in the average circulation. The publishers and buyers on the AAM board of directors expressed interest in identifying the number of unique sales transactions that generate these multiple circulation units. Therefore, U.S. daily newspapers are required to calculate and disclose their total consumer accounts (TCA) metric. See AAM Rule C 2.12 Total Consumer Accounts.

  • Daily newspapers reporting on a CNA format and all weekly newspapers are exempt from this requirement.
  • The metric represents an analysis of one daily date and one Sunday date within the reporting period. It may be for any date(s) of the newspaper's discretion that represents the average circulation volume for the period.
  • Branded editions should be included on the daily and Sunday dates selected, if applicable to your newspaper.

The information available from this guide will help affected newspapers in understanding and calculating this metric. Click on a specific tab for details. If you have questions not addressed in the information provided, or need assistance with the calculation, please contact your Publisher Relations Manager.

 

Updated: 8/22/2014

Circulation Analyzed for TCA

The TCA metric represents individual subscription accounts, for all paid and qualified circulation generated from all of your print, digital and branded editions.

  • If a solicitation for digital subscriptions reflected incremental pricing, per AAM Rule C 5.10 Digital Subscriptions, the accounts must still be unduplicated for the purposes of calculating the TCA metric. TCA’s focus is on quantifying unique decisions, not total circulation.
  • There is no grandfathering of any accounts for the purposes of the TCA metric. 

Included in TCA analysis:

  • Print
    • Paid home delivery
    • Paid joint distribution, if applicable
    • Qualified home delivery – requested
  • Digital replica and nonreplica
    • Individual subscriptions
  • Branded editions
    • Paid home delivery
    • Paid joint distribution, if applicable
    • Qualified home delivery – requested
    • Digital Individual subscriptions

Worksheet for Calculating the TCA Metric

If your consumer marketing efforts involve bundled transactions (single transaction resulting in multiple circulation units), you will need to complete a review and analysis of your subscriber accounts to identify the number of unique transactions that generated the multiple circulation units. Therefore, calculating the TCA metric will include an analysis of:

  • Subscriber billing information
  • Subscriber files
  • Solicitation materials

A worksheet and instructions are available to assist you in calculating the new total consumer accounts (TCA) metric.

Instructions for Calculating the TCA Metric

Instructions are available to assist you in calculating the new total consumer accounts (TCA) metric.

If you have an alternate method for arriving at an accurate TCA disclosure, it is acceptable to AAM. This specific worksheet is not required.

STEP 1:

Select a representative date for the TCA analysis and disclosure.

  • One daily date and one Sunday date, if applicable, are required.
  • The date(s) must fall within the reporting period.
  • The date should include branded editions, if applicable.
  • An analysis of subscriber files for these dates may be necessary, so be sure you have them available.

STEPS 2-5:

Determine potential consumer accounts by Identifying and quantifying all individual subscription circulation for your selected date(s).

  • Print
    • Paid home delivery
    • Paid joint distribution, if applicable
    • Qualified home delivery – requested
  • Digital replica and nonreplica
    • Individual subscriptions
  • Branded editions
    • Paid home delivery
    • Paid joint distribution, if applicable
    • Qualified home delivery – requested
    • Digital Individual subscriptions

All of this data may be found on your circulation ledger (AAM daily summary).

STEP 6:

Total all data for your print, digital and branded edition subscriptions (Add totals from Step 2-5.)

IMPORTANT:

  • If consumer marketing efforts don’t result in multiple circulation units, then stop here. This total is your TCA figure for AAM reporting.
  • If a single consumer marketing effort can generate multiple circulation units, then proceed to step 7.

STEP 7:

Remove duplicate subscription circulation.  This includes an analysis of subscriber billing information, subscriber files and solicitation materials.

a)    Single paid subscription accounts

  • When only a single paid circulation unit is generated from a subscription offer.
  • Obtain or compile a complete subscriber file for all paid circulation accounts where only a single subscription was purchased (print, digital or branded).

b)    Single qualified home delivery requested accounts

  • When only a single verified circulation unit is generated from a subscription effort.
  • Obtain or compile a complete subscriber file for all qualified requested circulation accounts (print, digital or branded).

c)    Bundled subscription accounts

  • When a solicitation generates multiple circulation units for the same individual (print, digital or branded) and the paid elements generate a single invoice to the consumer.
  • Review your master subscriber files for individuals with promotion codes associated with bundle purchases. Ensure these individuals are only counted once for the TCA metric.

Helpful Tips

  • Give yourself enough time to compile, analyze and review the data before the submission deadline.
  • Don’t forget to “freeze” the subscriber files for your selected date(s) as you may need these to complete the TCA analysis and calculation. This includes the files for print, digital and branded subscribers.
  • When the subscriber file is pulled, make sure it contains only people who would have received a paper that day. Inactive or temp stops should be excluded.
  • Save your reports or spreadsheets for the auditor. It’s easier to give the auditor these documents upon request than recreating the original process.

If your consumer marketing efforts involve bundled transactions (single transaction resulting in multiple circulation units), here are some additional tips to keep in mind when calculating the TCA Metric:

  1. Reconcile the number of accounts from your subscriber files to your AAM book for the same categories, to ensure you have included all eligible subscriber accounts in your analysis.
  2. When calculating the TCA metric refer to promotional codes, master subscriber IDs or other unique subscriber identifiers to help you identify the accounts associated with bundled sales / multiple circulation units.
  3. For your bundled sales, be sure to account for the one transaction that generated the multiple circulation units in the TCA metric—don’t accidentally take every account out!!
  4. For digital subscriptions sold through external agents (Apple, Barnes & Noble, etc.): If you are not able to adequately compare to internal records, please notate the volume and source of the subscriptions and maintain for auditor review.

Please contact your Publisher Relations manager with any questions.