ABC Board Agrees to Amend U.S. Newspaper Qualification and Reporting Standards

    Enhances Verified Circulation Rule for Magazines, Elects New Directors

    SCHAUMBURG, Ill., Nov. 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- To meet the evolving
needs of advertisers and publishers, the board of the Audit Bureau of
Circulations (ABC) has endorsed a set of sweeping strategic recommendations
for U.S. newspapers that aim to provide marketers with more useful
information, streamline ABC rules and audits, and modify key circulation
standards. The pending changes reflect the collaborative recommendations of a
joint industry task force representing nearly two-dozen leading newspaper and
advertising executives. The actions come on the heels of the successful launch
last week of Audience-FAX, a new U.S. initiative that provides for broader
reporting of newspaper distribution, print readership and online audience

    While specific rules and implementation details are to be further defined
at the next ABC meeting in March, the board has agreed to employ the changes
over the next three years in the U.S. It will consider adopting similar
strategic changes for the Canadian newspaper market following further input
from its Canadian members.

    For the U.S. market ABC has agreed to:

    -- Revise the definition of paid circulation so that it is more
straightforward and intuitive, represents payment by an individual reader or
specialized channels and continues to be reported separately on ABC
Publisher's Statements and Audit Reports.

    -- Adopt a paid/verified reporting model where "other paid circulation"
(e.g., copies purchased by sponsors or distributed to schools and newspaper
employees) will be reported as "verified" circulation.

    -- Implement a flexible pricing model where newspapers will be considered
"paid" by ABC regardless of the price for which a copy is sold. This will
bring ABC's U.S. newspaper division in line with current practices in its
periodical divisions, as well as with price qualification standards in the
Canadian newspaper market.

    -- Reclassify copies distributed at hotels and subscriptions purchased by
businesses for a group of employees to a new paid-circulation category.

    -- Allow newspapers more flexibility to convert current home subscribers
to a greater frequency.

    -- Revise ABC Publisher's Statements and Audit Reports to provide a
summary of the total average circulation (paid and verified) and the
distribution by channel, such as newsstand sales and total home-delivery

    "These improvements are part of a two-year strategic planning process the
ABC board has been engaged in to ensure we continue to meet the challenges of
today's market," noted Craig Sinclair, vice president of advertising at
Walgreen Co. "Our aim was to streamline the audit process, clearly define
important measurement standards and improve overall communication between
newspaper buyers and sellers. These changes will help us achieve those

    Scott Heekin-Canedy, president and general manager of the New York Times,
added: "The actions agreed to by the ABC board are the culmination of
widespread input from a broad range of newspaper publishers and advertisers
working in collaboration to address the transformational nature of the market
today. I am pleased that we reached unanimity and I want to thank the many
people who served on various committees and task forces for providing their
valuable recommendations."

    Other Key ABC Board Actions

    The ABC board also agreed to increase the number of magazine copies that
can be distributed to hotels and airlines under its "verified circulation"
rule. Effective immediately, consumer magazines published monthly or less
frequently may provide a maximum of four copies per room to each hotel
location. The previous limit was two. The provision for distribution of weekly
magazines remains one copy per room.

    The board also agreed to create a new section of the verified rule to
govern distribution of consumer magazines to airlines. Effective immediately,
publishers may distribute up to two copies per flight, based on a monthly
average of flights. The magazines may be distributed on board the aircraft or
at airport clubs, at the discretion of the airline. As with hotels, airlines
must select the specific titles they want to receive.

    The ABC board also approved the development of a new
circulation-forecasting tool to assist newspaper advertisers in the planning
process. Via ABC's Web site, newspapers will be able to provide distribution
forecasts to help their freestanding-insert advertisers better gauge printing
and production requirements. This will also eliminate the need for newspapers
to contact each advertiser with this repetitive information each month.
Several newspapers and advertisers have successfully tested the new tool,
which is expected to be available in early 2008.

    New Directors Elected

    The ABC board elected three new directors at its recent meeting:  Kirk
Davis, president and publisher, GateHouse Media New England; Lannie Dawson,
executive vice president and director of media services, Martin-Williams
Advertising; and Rob Fisher, vice president and group publisher, American City
Business Journals.

    The ABC board of directors meeting was held Nov. 7-10 in Chicago. For a
complete summary of board actions, visit ABC's Virtual Pressroom at

    ABC members are invited to attend a webinar on Nov. 15 recapping
important board actions and rule changes. The online session for ABC newspaper
members begins at 11:00 ET, while the session for magazine members begins at
2:00 ET. The cost is $149. Interested attendees can register on the ABC at

    With more than 4,000 members in North America, ABC is a forum of the
world's leading magazine and newspaper publishers, advertisers and advertising
agencies. The organization provides credible, verified information essential
to the media buying and selling process. ABC maintains the world's foremost
online database of audited-circulation information and a growing array of
readership, audience and Web site usage data. To learn more, visit

For further information:

For further information: Kammi Altig, +1-847-879-8232,, or Laina Krisik, +1-847-879-8432,, both of the Audit Bureau of Circulations Web Site:

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