ABC amends reporting requirements

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Shaumburg, Ill.--In the wake of questionable-circulation scandals at publications such as the Chicago Sun Times and PC Magazine, the Audit Bureau of Circulations announced that its board of directors is taking several actions to improve the auditing process.

In particular, the board agreed to amend consumer magazine reporting requirements for Paragraph 4B in Publisher’s Statements. Effective with the June 30, 2005, Publisher’s Statement, the board voted to eliminate thresholds for those classes of circulation reported in Paragraph 4B (sponsored, partnership, club, membership and loyalty).

This action means that disclosure of average paid circulation for these circulation classes will be required from “copy one”--not when the circulation meets a certain number of copies.

In response to ABC’s announcement, BPA Worldwide, a competitive audit company, issued a statement that it “has for years required that consumer magazines report all sponsored subscriptions (paid and nonpaid)--as well as partnership, public place, loyalty-point and club/membership subscriptions--from ‘copy one.’ ” BPA CEO Glenn Hansen, however, made sure to praise ABC as well: “The media seem to have lost sight of one important fact: Most of the exaggerated circulation claims would not have come to light at all if these media were not audited in the first place.”

--Sean Callahan

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