Total Consumer Accounts

  1. Introduction
  2. Definition and Purpose
  3. Circulation To Be Analyzed
  4. Worksheet for Calculating the TCA Metric
  5. Instructions for Calculating the TCA Metric
  6. Helpful Tips

Introduction

Effective with the March 2012 publisher’s statement, U.S. daily newspapers are required to calculate and disclose their total consumer accounts (TCA) metric.

  • Daily newspapers reporting on a CNA format and all weekly newspapers are exempt from this requirement.
  • The metric will appear on the front page of the statement under the executive summary.
  • Beginning with the September 2012 publisher's statements, this metric will also be included in the Newspaper Snapshot report.

A consumer marketing approach that bundles print, digital and branded editions gives newspapers the potential to include multiple circulation units (as paid, verified or combination of both) in the average circulation disclosed in paragraph 1 of AAM documents.

The publishers and buyers on the AAM board expressed interest in identifying the number of unique sales transactions that generate these multiple circulation units. The result was the creation of the "Total Consumer Accounts" (TCA) metric governed by AAM Rule C 2.12 Total Consumer Accounts.

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

If your consumer marketing efforts don’t involve bundled transactions (a single transaction only has the potential to result one circulation unit), then the TCA calculation should be simple. It is equal to the number of active, individual subscriber accounts for your print, digital, and branded editions on the selected dates.

Definition and Purpose

The total consumer accounts (TCA) metric represents the number of unduplicated, individual accounts resulting from the consumers’ unique sales transactions to purchase or receive subscriptions. This is additive to, not replacing, total average circulation.

  • The metric represents an analysis of one daily date and one Sunday date within the publisher's statement 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 purpose of this metric is to establish a relationship between the subscription circulation claimed on the publisher's statement and the number of unique sales transactions that generated the circulation.

  • If your consumer marketing efforts involve bundled transactions, 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.

If your consumer marketing efforts don’t involve bundled transactions (a single transaction only has the potential to result one circulation unit), then the TCA calculation should be simple. It is equal to the number of active, individual subscriber accounts for your print, digital, and branded editions on the selected dates.

Circulation To Be Analyzed

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

Therefore, the analysis and calculation only includes subscription accounts associated with individuals:

  • For all platforms (print, digital and branded).
  • For all individually paid subscriptions within these platforms.
  • For all verified, requested (or accessed) subscriptions within these platforms.

This results in the exclusion of:

  • Paid single-copy sales
  • Paid business/traveler
  • Verified, home delivery - targeted circulation
  • Verified educational copies
  • Verified employee copies
  • Verified retail/business circulation

Please refer to the Circulation Table – In or Out for TCA Metric as a quick reference. It identifies all circulation categories on the publisher’s statement and whether each is included or excluded from the analysis and calculation of the TCA metric.

Additional Notes:

  • 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. 

Worksheet for Calculating the TCA Metric

Effective with the March 2012 publisher’s statements, the total consumer accounts metric must be disclosed for U.S. daily newspapers. Important: Daily newspapers reporting on a CNA format and all weekly newspapers are exempt from this reporting requirement.

As a reminder, the purpose of the metric is to establish a relationship between the individual subscription circulation claimed on the publisher’s statement and the number of unique decisions that generated the circulation. A worksheet is available to assist you in calculating the new total consumer accounts (TCA) metric:

If you have an alternate method for arriving at an accurate number of total consumer accounts, please use it. The worksheet and instructions are provided if assistance is needed when calculating this new 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

If your consumer marketing efforts don’t involve bundled transactions (a single transaction only has the potential to result one circulation unit), then the TCA calculation should be simple. It is equal to the number of active, individual subscriber accounts for your print, digital, and branded editions on the selected dates.

Instructions for Calculating the TCA Metric

Effective with the March 2012 publisher’s statements, the total consumer accounts metric must be disclosed for U.S. daily newspapers. Important: Daily newspapers reporting on a CNA format and all weekly newspapers are exempt from this reporting requirement.

As a reminder, the purpose of the metric is to establish a relationship between the individual subscription circulation claimed on the publisher’s statement and the number of unique decisions that generated the circulation. 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 number of total consumer accounts, please use it. The worksheet and instructions are provided if assistance is needed when calculating this new 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

If your consumer marketing efforts don’t involve bundled transactions (a single transaction only has the potential to result one circulation unit), then the TCA calculation should be simple. It is equal to the number of active, individual subscriber accounts for your print, digital, and branded editions on the selected dates.

Helpful Tips

  • Select your date(s) prior to the end of the publisher’s statement period. The dates must fall within the publisher’s statement period and represents the six months. The dates should include branded editions, if applicable.
  • Give yourself enough time to gather, process and check the data before the publisher’s statement filing 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. See the “Circulation Table – In or Out for TCA Metric” to identify the files necessary for the TCA calculation.
  • 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 don’t involve bundled transactions (a single transaction only has the potential to result one circulation unit), then the TCA calculation should be simple. It is equal to the number of active, individual subscriber accounts for your print, digital, and branded editions on the selected dates.

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 (Step 7 of the TCA Worksheet), you may wish to 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 you 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.) that you are not able to adequately compare to internal records, please notate the volume and source of the subscriptions at the bottom of the TCA Worksheet and maintain for auditor review.

Please contact your Publisher Relations manager with any questions.

Download a PDF version of these tips.

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