The Times and Democrat uses ABC’s Community Newspaper Audit service to lower costs, time spent on audits

The Times and Democrat in Orangeburg, S.C. is one of more than 300 U.S. newspapers now part of ABC’s Community Newspaper Audit service.

Situation

The Times and Democrat is a daily newspaper that covers Orangeburg, S.C., with an average circulation of approximately 14,000. Although the paper is now published by Lee Enterprises, it has a history of local owners and strong roots in its community. “The people here consider it their newspaper and even refer to it as their paper,” said Barbara West-Ravenell, circulation director.

Issue

With both local and national retailers in the Orangeburg area, The Times and Democrat has a range of potential advertisers. As a member of ABC since 1943, the paper uses its ABC-audited information to attract and keep those advertisers. Smaller newspapers like The Times and Democrat have different needs than metro papers, which tend to have larger budgets and staff. Circulation audits can occupy a larger portion of a community newspaper’s resources.


Solution

ABC’s Community Newspaper Audit service offers reduced prices and streamlined audits to newspapers with paid circulation under 25,000. Auditors now conduct CNA audits from ABC’s headquarters, eliminating the need for hosting auditors on-site at the newspaper. After talking with an ABC marketing manager who explained the program, West-Ravenell decided the service was a good fit for The Times and Democrat.

Results

The every-other-year audit is conducted electronically and has reduced reporting requirements. As a result, the CNA service is less intrusive and saves the paper money while guaranteeing advertisers the ABC-audited information they desire. “The quality definitely stays the same,” West-Ravenell said. “The quality is definitely still there.”

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About the Community Newspaper Audit Service

In 2009, the ABC board approved a new Community Newspaper Audit service designed for papers with an average daily paid circulation of less than 25,000. The Times and Democrat is one of more than 300 U.S. papers now part of the CNA audit program. The service saves newspapers time and money without compromising the quality of an ABC audit.

In the more than 20 years West-Ravenell has been with The Times and Democrat, she has hosted plenty of ABC auditors at her South Carolina office, ensuring they had the correct documents to complete the audit. The CNA service changed the process markedly.

She added that while the audit is still intense, accessing and distributing information electronically is easier and faster. And although the process and costs are different, the quality is consistent with a traditional ABC audit.

“The cost is lower and the time is shorter, but we’re still getting the same information as before. Everything is still there,” West-Ravenell said.

CNA participants receive many of the same benefits and services as traditional ABC audits. Publisher’s Statements are released semiannually, and their information is included in FAS-FAX. Participants also have access to the Preprint Projection Center and flexible billing options.

CNA newspapers can also participate in ABC’s other verification services and reports, including:

Unlike with traditional audits, CNA participants are not required to report circulation by geographic market, averages for each day of the week or subscriptions sold with premiums. Publisher’s statements also incorporate simplified reporting for basic prices and the explanatory paragraph.

West-Ravenell hasn’t heard much reaction from advertisers since they switched to a CNA audit. For her, no reaction is a good reaction—it’s proof that advertisers respect the CNA audit.

“I was kind of skeptical at first. I came up old school where the ABC auditor came in for no less than a week. But this is really worthwhile, convenient and time-saving,” she said.



For more information, contact a marketing and sales manager at (224) 366-6388.

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