ABC to post audit of 'PC Magazine'

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On July 12, ABC announced that some of PC Magazine's circulation generated through a subscription agent has been reclassified as "analyzed nonpaid direct request" from "paid." The circulation agent was, a Web site operated by Time-Warner's Synapse.

With the reclassifications, PC Magazine's 2003 Audit Report and its Publisher's Statement for the first half of 2004 reflect an reflect an average of about 260,000 subscriptions as "analyzed nonpaid." PC Magazine's 2002 Audit Report states that an average of 63,753 subscriptions, out of a total average circulation of 1.2 million, are categorized as "analyzed nonpaid."

"PC Magazine's total circulation is not affected by these reclassifications and continues to exceed its rate base," Tim Castelli, senior VP-group publisher, said in a statement.

From the beginning, Ziff Davis has characterized this circulation flap as a technicality in which a third-party sponsor, which was offering visitors to free subscriptions to PC Magazine, didn't pay the subscription bill on time.

International Data Group's PC World, PC Magazine's key competitor, however, has attempted to turn the flap into a debate about the validity of digital replica subscriptions, because most of the "free" subs were of that variety.

--Sean Callahan

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