BPA board approves changes to audits and rate structure

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Shelton, Conn.—The BPA Worldwide board has approved sweeping changes in how the organization audits member brands and how it charges for those audits. The board, however, rejected the controversial proposed changes to paragraph 3b of the audit statement, which would have eliminated the requirement for print publications to report whether subscribers have been qualified in the past year, two years or three years.

Some vocal opponents argued that the proposed change would weaken the audit process. “When I first heard that was being considered, I was pretty vocal in my dislike of it,” said Jim Franklin, chairman of Marketing & Technology Group, a b-to-b media company. “Those of us in the magazine business know that at the end of two years a name has gone sour.”

BPA said the changes that ultimately were approved “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 in the past 18 months.

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