Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Letters

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Letters

Article excerpt

Audit boss defends Canada reporting shift

After reading Jay Schiller's Dec. 5 commentary (E&P, "In Canada, 'paid circulation' isn't what it used to be," p. 38), I want to clarify several points to ensure your readers have an accurate picture of how the recently revised report format for the Audit Bureau of Circulations' (ABC). Canadian newspaper members was developed and what it means.

As we discussed with Schiller during a lengthy interview on Sept. 21, it is not ABC's role to establish the prices newspapers charge readers. His introductory paragraph seemed to imply otherwise, like subsequent comments regarding the possibility of smaller newspapers becoming "all-you-can-eat buffets" for their competitors.

"Predatory" pricing and related issues are the concern of other agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission and Canada's Competition Bureau, not ABC.

ABC s job is to audit the circulation claims of publishers to the standards which the industry has determined best meet the collective needs of advertisers. advertising agencies and publishers. These qualification standards are not determined by ABC staff, but by the ABC membership through feedback from individual members, industry liaison committees and our board of directors.

While the democratic process of seeking member input and consensus may not be as efficient as some would prefer, it does ensure that all affected parties have an opportunity to voice their opinions.

Our Canadian constituents have clearly communicated that they feel this change is necessary. and ABC has responded accordingly.

While it is evident that Schiller does not agree, the vast majority of those who actually buy and sell newspaper advertising in Canada believe differently. It might have been useful to include the opinions of some Canadian media buyers and sellers in the article.

It is important to note that ABC's revised Canadian format clearly delineates between circulation paid at 50% or more of basic price and circulation paid at less than 50% of basic price. It also details sales by each price point for copies sold at less than 50% of basic, including a penny. This gives advertisers the full disclosure they feel is necessary to make informed media buying decisions in Canada.

We agree that newspaper rates affect the audit program, which is a function of the audit trail and the audit economics. …

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