Publishing Professionals Provide Tips Under New ABC Rules

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NEW YORK -- Publishing professionals offered tips to attendees of yesterday's Fulfillment Management Association seminar, "Promotion Applications and Marketing Opportunities After the ABC Rules Change," at the Grand Hyatt.

Under the Audit Bureau of Circulation rules that took effect in July, magazine subscriptions can be sold at any price as paid circulation, but publishers must make greater disclosures of how much money is being charged for subscriptions.

Prior to the new rule, publications sold at less than 50 percent of the basic subscription rate could not be counted as paid circulation.

During the seminar, a panel moderated by circulation consultant Linda Engel gave ideas for creative marketing of magazines.

The past few years have been difficult for publishers, she said, but with the new rule, "We're finally in a position for some good news."

Panelists David Leckey, vice president of circulation at Hachette Filipacchi Magazines, and Craig Reynolds, vice president of publisher relations at QSP, agreed.

One area of opportunity is in partnership and combination marketing, such as offering two separate magazine subscriptions for one price, Reynolds said. However, unless a publisher has two complementary titles that are marketable together, combination sales are tricky, he added, saying, "Most publishers don't want to play together."

Leckey said that Hachette Filipacchi was beginning cross-promotion on some of its titles but agreed that it is difficult.

"At the end of the day, there's not a lot in common between Boating and Flying or Elle and Woman's Day," he said.

Even so, HFM plans to test cross-promotions between Woman's Day and Elle Girl to try to capitalize on mother/daughter households.

Premiums, such as offering a second year for a reduced price, also were mentioned as a way to boost circulation that can be effective.

With less restriction on promotional endeavors, panelists were optimistic about the future of publishing.

"We're in a time of unbelievable opportunity," Reynolds said. "Publishing will survive."

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