Advertising Week: Verified Circ, Defense of Print Dominate ABC Panel

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NEW YORK - Verified circulation, engagement with the audience, integrated marketing programs and uncertainty about new publishing business models dominated a panel discussion Sept. 28 attended by key circulators.

It was also amply clear that the panel participants - from media giants like The New York Times Co., Rodale and Meredith Corp. as well as media services specialist MediaVest USA and mediaedge:cia - had come to praise print, not bury it.

"It's not in decline, it's been redefined," George Sansoucy, Rodale's national director for corporate sales, said at the event organized by the Audit Bureau of Circulations during Advertising Week.

His fellow panelist agreed.

"Print is not going away; it'll survive and thrive," said Robin Steinberg, senior vice president and director of print investment at MediaVest USA.

The vigorous defense of print continued throughout the discussion. Take measurement, for example. Verified copies - circulation in public places like physicians' waiting rooms - had both its advocates and critics on the panel. Some publishers pad their rate bases with such circulation, upsetting others.

"Anything over a percentage is not paid circulation," said Jack Bamberger, senior vice president of corporate sales at Meredith.

ABC's recent changes pertaining to online and print circulation yielded diverse opinions. One panelist sought a holistic approach to media buying, another preferred better modeling. Some cautioned into developing new measurement models given that print still has its issues.

"How do you define a reader in print?" Ms. Steinberg asked.

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