Last last month, BPA Worldwide's board approved sweeping changes to the organization's audit process and fee structure but rejected the most controversial proposed change, which would have relaxed reporting requirements for paragraph 3b on an audit statement. The approved changes go into effect July 1.
Paragraph 3b requires that the number of subscribers to a controlled-circulation print publication be identified by how recently they have been qualified: within one year, two years or three years. BPA proposed changing the baseline standard to requiring that publishers only identify subscribers qualified within the last three years.
A vocal group of marketers, media buyers and publishers fought the proposed change, believing it would weaken the validity of an audit. “When I first heard that was being considered, I was pretty vocal in my dislike of it,” said Jim Franklin, chairman of b-to-b media company Marketing & Technology Group. “Those of us in the magazine business know that at the end of two years a name has gone sour.”
Even with the rejection of this proposed change, the alterations to the audit process are significant. BPA said the approved changes “will transform BPA Worldwide from a legacy print media measurer to that of reporting the consumption of the media brand across all platforms.” Essentially, the board approved changes that will make the Brand Reach Audit the de facto standard, rather than the print circulation audit.
The Brand Reach Audit analyzes audience across a host of products for a single brand. This could include, for example, a magazine, e-mail newsletters, a website and webcasts. The Brand Reach Audit also brings with it a new fee structure, as brands will be charged a single fee; no longer will each channel of the brand have to be a member.
“The new rate structure is going to make it much more cost-effective for publishers,” said Glenn Hansen, BPA president-CEO.
Containing costs is a large issue for the organization, which has lost about 700 members since July 2008. Many members have left for cost reasons, and the hope is that a revamped audit approach will bring back to BPA those former members while helping retain those current members contemplating leaving the organization. M