ABC Board: Only Certain Partnership Subs Qualify As Paid Circ
The Audit Bureau of Circulations Board of Directors made several key changes to its rulebook at its meeting July 19-22. The board announced Tuesday that partnership subscriptions will not be qualified as paid subscriptions unless they meet the criteria for deductible partnerships "paid, net of all considerations." More importantly, this rule change does not allow existing programs, which had previously been approved by ABC, to be grandfathered in.
According to ABC’s VP communications, Neal Lulofs, the number of nondeductible partnerships subs is not high. Out of all ABC-audited titles, only 50 carried nondeductible partnerships on their statement as of December 2005. Out of those, 35 titles had less than 2 percent of their total in nondeductible and 19 titles had less than 1 percent.
The board also announced the "Total Audience Reach" program, which will allow only b-to-b publications to report circulation, pass-along readership, Web site traffic, and other auditable media in one aggregated figure. This new program will be implemented beginning with the June 2006 reporting period. The new reports will be available online as part of the ABC e-statements online database. Business publications also may now also sell subscriptions or single copies on a deductible basis in partnership with the goods or services of other businesses, provided that the purchaser of the item is given the option to decline the subscription at the time of purchase.
Applicable to consumer magazines, ABC has taken steps toward shortening audit-completion time with two new rules. Effective January 1, 2007, magazines that do not provide ABC auditors with necessary audit records (such as sub files, distribution channels, credit payment and cancellations, and agent sales) within six months of the close of the publisher’s statement period will be withheld from the ABC FAS-FAX report. In addition, sponsored-magazine payment must be received within four months of the start of a subscription, a change from the previous seven-month requirement.
Other announcements include the amendment to the eligibility rules of ABC’s program that audits and reports Web site activity of newspapers and periodicals, ABC Interactive. ABCi will now be available to non-member companies, given these organizations obtain an associate ABC membership prior to their initial Web audit.
Special annual publications sold only on newsstands will be able to use a new reporting program via ABC’s Rapid Report tool. Rapid Report allows publishers to voluntarily report their top-line circulation data on an issue-by-issue basis. Publishers can report circulation figures within weeks of the time when the issue reaches newsstands. For more on ABC’s Rapid Report system click here.
ABC will be hosting a regional briefing session for magazine membres August 3 In New York. For more information log on to accessabc.com.