BPA board approves distribution audit, revised guidelines

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The BPA Worldwide board of directors approved a distribution audit for non-editorial media and modified rules regarding continuous/non-continuous circulation at its annual meeting last week.

The distribution audit service will be used to verify distribution for non-editorial media such as coupon books, wall media, card decks and menus. While the BPA was once prohibited from auditing such products, increased advertiser demand for product accountability drove the nonprofit media-auditing organization to reconsider its approach to non-editorial media.

"Advertisers' demand for accountability and some sort of ROI measurement has created this opportunity," said Glenn J. Hansen, president/CEO of BPA, Shelton, CT. "BPA is in the truth business, and this is simply an extension of our core competency."

In another change, the BPA board revised guidelines for identifying publications as continuous. To be classified as continuous, publications must now serve recipients at least three months of uninterrupted service. The old classification called for six months of uninterrupted service.

The board also voted to allow a five percent threshold for continuous publications, meaning 95 percent of circulation must be delivered for three consecutive months in order to be designated "continuous."

"The publishers are saying, 'My market is changing so quickly I need to add and drop people to meet the needs of advertisers,'" Mr. Hansen said. "The 5 percent threshold allows publishers the opportunity to change their audience composition ever-so-slightly to fit the editorial content - without jeopardizing the continuity of the ad impressions."

BPA is governed by a tripartite board comprised of media owners, advertising agencies and advertisers. Its members represent more than 25 countries. Clients include more than 1,900 business-to-business publications, 400 consumer magazines and newspapers, 100 Web sites and a variety of other advertiser-supported media.

Currently, 35 percent of BPA's membership is outside the United States. Mr. Hansen plans for the BPA to continue to grow its business globally.

"There will be continued investment on our part to measure all the content conduits of a brand, so the brand is now charging for access to an audience and not necessarily for a page of space," Mr. Hansen said. "BPA is in a position to offer a brand that measures the audience and how it accesses content."

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