ABC Debuts Measure for FSI Accuracy

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The first six Insert Verification Service reports that the Audit Bureau of Circulations released recently found a 98 percent rate of total insert proficiency, indicating minimal errors in insertion and delivery.

This data from the Schaumburg, IL-based media auditor gives advertisers a third-party source for insert media proficiency by newspaper.

The verification service aims to measure the accuracy of a newspaper's freestanding insert (FSI) program and distribution practices.

Six initial reports for first-quarter results were released at the end of May. The newspapers audited were the Chicago Tribune, Dayton Daily News (OH), Journal Gazette/News-Sentinel (Fort Wayne, IN), Quad-City Times (Davenport, IA), St. Petersburg Times (FL) and the Washington Post.

Fifty newspapers are enrolled in the service.

Gannett Corp. enrolled 22 newspapers June 5. Among them were the Detroit Free Press, The Indianapolis Star, The Des Moines Register and The Journal News (Westchester County, NY). Not included was USA Today, the best known of Gannett's 90 daily newspapers but without a Sunday edition.

The Newspaper Association of America claimed total preprint insert volume surpassed $87 billion for 2003, up nearly 3 percent from $84.5 billion in 2002. This indicates that a large amount of newspaper revenue is generated through this type of insert media.

Enrollment in ABC's Insert Verification Service costs $18,000 to $23,000 for each newspaper, depending on the time, materials and expenses involved. The reports are credible for up to two years.

Specific home delivery and single-copy routes are selected for each report. Auditors intercept each insert package at the last possible stage prior to delivery. Each sampled package is then compared with the schedule of inserts for that route for the test date. Errors such as missing inserts, incorrect versions or incorrect inclusions are identified and used to provide an error calculation for the report.

The report measures net and gross error rates. Problems with inserts not meeting a newspaper's specifications and insufficient usable quantity are included only in the gross error rate. Net error rates omit these numbers.

For example, the highest gross error rate was 2.24 percent at the Washington Post, and the net was 1.56 percent. Comparative figures for the Chicago Tribune were 1.35 percent gross and 1.3 percent net, while for the St. Petersburg Times they were 1.67 percent and 0.25 percent.

Reports also include geographic data for each publication and the insert specifications that each title requires. Reports are available to current ABC eStatement subscribers along with other ABC audits and publisher statements.

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