Addressing recent actions taken by ABC’s board of directors at its annual meeting earlier this month, ABC president and managing director Michael Lavery said not only is there a need to allow consumer magazines to include Web and other digital media traffic in one statement for their to advertisers, there’s also a need for a third-party organization to provide oversight of the numbers reported.

"The need to report and recognize audience from all mediums is now more essential than ever before," Lavery said. "And the need for verification by a third party is also more essential than ever and that places ABC in middle of these discussions." The term "total audience reach" will no longer be used to describe the collective number of people viewing print publications, Web sites and other mediums, Lavery said. Instead, the term "total contacts" will be used.

Sponsored Sales

ABC has also modified its rules on sponsored sales for consumer magazines. Beginning in January, Lavery said, new sponsorship programs must inform the recipient who the sponsor/purchaser of the subscription is, and sales-agent invoices must detail purchase quantities and payment by publications. Also, each sponsor must outline how the purchase promotes its business and how the copies will be used. Lavery said the changes were passed to enhance clarity of this type of circulation.

Partnership Programs

With regard to magazine partnership programs, the board agreed to eliminate nondeductible partner sales as of July of next year. The phasing out allows magazines already involved in nondeductible partner sales to serve out the remaining terms of their subscriptions and to enter into new partnerships up until June 30 of next year, Lavery said.

Rapid Report

Forty-two consumer magazines have signed on to participate in ABC’s rapid report, which allows reporting circulation figures for single issues. Participating publishers include American Media Inc., Time Inc., Hachette Filipacchi, Rodale and Martha Stewart Omnimedia, Lavery said.

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