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ABC gives initial approval to U.S. newspaper rule changes

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Schaumburg, Ill.—The board of the Audit Bureau of Circulations Tuesday gave its initial approval to a broad set of strategic rule modifications for U.S. newspapers.

ABC said the changes will more clearly define paid circulation and create a new “verified” reporting category for other circulation channels. They are also intended to provide greater pricing and marketing flexibility for publishers.

Some rule modifications will take effect April 1, 2009, with the balance to be implemented Oct. 1, 2010.

The rule modifications that kick in April 1, 2009, include easing certain reporting requirements for midsize newspapers. Currently, newspapers with average paid circulation of less than 25,000 are not required to be audited annually or report averages for each day of the week, if published daily. This threshold will be raised to 50,000. Other changes include implementing a flexible pricing model in which newspapers will be considered “paid” by ABC regardless of the price at which a copy is sold.

—Matthew Schwartz

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