BPA Proposal Would Create Qualified Sponsored Reporting Category for Consumer Titles

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BPA Worldwide's board of directors proposed the creation of a new reporting category last week for sponsored subscriptions at consumer magazines.

Existing breakouts for total qualified paid and total qualified nonpaid in the average qualified circulation box appearing on the BPA statement's first page would include a third category for qualified sponsored. The new breakout would be positioned between the other two.

"We are acknowledging this consumer magazine source as a third, hybrid-type of circulation," BPA president/CEO Glenn Hansen said in a statement. "There is paid, there is nonpaid and there is sponsored."

As part of the proposed changes in the report, magazines would be asked to define in auditable terms the type of recipients of each sponsored program that they use as a source. They would be required to offer documentation to prove that the actual recipients fit the audience description detailed in the circulation statement.

Magazines would have to provide the name of the sponsor of each program in the statement, BPA said. And sponsored subscriptions would no longer be included in the calculation of average price.

"So BPA will independently verify the qualification of those being reached and buyers will make their own informed judgments about the value of an individual sponsorship program," Hansen said.

BPA members currently report sponsored subscriptions either as part of their total qualified paid totals or qualified nonpaid totals. Also, in paragraph one, they are supposed to report every sponsored subscription as being either individually addressed or part of multiple copies sent to the same addressee.

The goal of this proposal -- up for a final vote at the BPA's May board meeting -- is to help media buyers unearth audited magazines' circulation sources.

"The media buying and media owner executives on our board and supporting committees agree that the paid versus nonpaid status of sponsored subscriptions is not what is relevant to buying decisions," Hansen said. "What is relevant is what audiences are actually being reached through those sponsorships."

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