BPA clarifies public place reporting for consumer magazines

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Media auditor BPA Worldwide's board of directors voted to clarify reporting of public place copies for consumer magazines, including removing the category from the "Average Qualified Circulation" and "How Ordered" breakouts.

The decision was made at Shelton, CT-based BPA's December meeting.

Additional disclosure of public place copies now will be required within the breakout of Qualified Circulation (of the analyzed issue), including separate reporting by single or multiple public place copies and if those copies were paid for by a third party.

A separate sub-total of public place copies is also provided.

The board also has modified rules on copies that are distributed in bulk to permit central locations such as regional headquarters, to issue agreements for locations under their control.

The documentation provided for audit must now include a signed agreement with the central office, a list of all locations where the copies are to be sent, full addresses, telephone numbers, the quantity per location and the contact person at the location.

An "opt-out" for the requested copies also would be required, no less than every 36 months and may be done through written communication, e-mail or tape-recorded telecommunication.

For all other locations, existing rules remain in effect. Each location must sign an opt-in agreement every 36 months.

Prior to the amendment, BPA required an opt-in agreement from each location specifying the number of copies and how they would be dispensed.

The BPA board has asked its advisory committees to review over the next six months the points surrounding this rule.

The following are board actions applying to both business publications and consumer magazines.

  • Combined print and digital copies for late mailings and distribution analyses: Publishers have requested that digital copies and print copies be included together in the analyses and allowances of late mailings and distribution shortages. Previously, digital and print distributions were analyzed separately in the audit process.
  • Immediate posting of circulation statements: Publishers are now allowed to post circulation statements on the BPA Web site at www.bpawww.com immediately after receiving approval from the publisher to print. This move aims to eliminate the previous waiting period of printing before posting.
  • Promoting above average circulations: BPA ruled that in cases where publishers promote a single issue's circulation and that issue varies by more than 10 percent of the average qualified circulation, then the average circulation for the period must be footnoted in the publicity piece.
  • Temporary study: Incentives in the Middle East: Previously, subscriptions sold in the Middle East were packaged with incentives/gifts valued at more than half of the subscription price. BPA rules will now restrict the value of gifts, but on a temporary basis, BPA rules will reflect the local market condition in the Middle East, provided full disclosure to the media buyer occurs through the BPA reports.
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