BPA Solidifies Rule Changes to Reflect Changing Media Landscape
Digital reporting and shared media channels included in rule changes.
In an era of multiplatform media consumption, quantifying a large spectrum of metrics gets harder and harder. To provide clarity to its members, auditing agency BPA Worldwide has solidified several rule amendments that are scheduled to take effect immediately.
In May 2012, the BPA Board allowed the reporting of digital copies served through applications as qualified circulation. At the time, it was determined that through authentication via an access code tied to subscriber registration or information, media owners had the ability to identify and quantify end-users, thus enabling publishers to report this as qualified circulation.
As of the group’s December 2012 meeting, however, the BPA Board amended rules for digital copies served through apps and mobile devices. When it comes to digital subscriptions that are purchased through tablet or mobile platforms, digital circulation will be reported from copy one and for the full term of the subscription. However, the digital subscription must be authenticated through the device or app to report digital copies when sold as:
• Paid combination sales and/or bundled subscriptions for print and digital.
• Paid sponsored digital and/or tablet mobile subscriptions.
• Paid circulation with digital as a promotional incentive.
For non-paid circulation magazines with digital circulations, the recipient must authenticate the digital subscription through the device and access the magazine or publication once per every six-month reporting period.
For digital delivery with non-requestors, the BPA Board amended a rule to allow media owners to count the digital subscription, from one copy, as long as the non-requesting subscriber is given the ability to opt-out.
In addition to digital edition reporting, the BPA Board eliminated the continuous service requirement. It deemed that the continuous/non-continuous circulation rule was outdated because of the many media channels, multiple messaging opportunities and unlimited frequencies within a media brand to reinforce advertising messages.
While the BPA Board may have axed the continuous service requirement, it reaffirmed reporting shared media channels, but determined it requires better disclosure. The BPA Board voted to require the disclosure comment, “shared media channels (XYZ website)—serving both ______ and ________,” everywhere shared data of any type, not just websites, is reported.
When it comes to brand subscription sale offers, BPA members will now be required to report the full amount collected for an offer as the value of the subscription. Members reporting average annual order prices will now disclose the number of subscriptions sold with multiple channel brand offers, when applicable.
The BPA Board also approved all recommended changes relating to pre-populated data. Media owners and BPA members, the agency says, wish to utilize subscriber information from any channel to pre-populate magazine subscription solicitations. The rules have been amended to allow the use of third-party sources—like association list rosters, business information providers and directories—to pre-populate information to make subscribing an efficient as possible.
In another change, the BPA Board ruled that site licenses could be reported as separate media channels on the BPA Brand Report, but not as qualified digital copies on the publication circulation statements. Additionally, as more media owners migrate to brand reporting and expand statement sizes to report more data, the Board changed the rule surrounding qualification forms on statements to no longer require them due to the availability of these qualification forms online.