Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

ABC Business Division Moves to Kill 50% Rule

Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

ABC Business Division Moves to Kill 50% Rule

Article excerpt

Business division nears finalizing rule change, while disclosure issues hinder change on the consumer side.

The Audit Bureau of Circulations' board of directors last month gave first passage to a reporting modification that effectively eliminates the 50 percent rule for its business publication division.

If the changes are approved for final passage, copies sold at any price more than one cent will be counted as paid circulation in the business publication division. ABC expects final passage at the board of directors meeting in March 2001, at which point the board would also decide when the changes go into effect. ABC president and managing director Michael J. Lavery says implementation "could be as early as the publisher's statements beginning July 1, 2001."

The board's decision to give first passage to the redefinition of paid circulation comes one month after BPA International announced that it would drop the 50 percent rule effective January 1,2000. "ABC is trying to stay in line with BPA because they've really taken the initiative," says one circulation executive at a major business publisher. "They're definitely following suit."

At ABC, reporting criteria is still being developed. "The business publications are looking to report production by bands relative to basic price," says Peter Johnson, vice president, corporate circulation director of Crain Communications. In other words, statements would break out the percentage of magazines sold at various price points. The increments of those "bands," or percentages, have not been decided. But Johnson notes that both publishers and buyers have agreed on this method.

Although the details are still being hammered out, circulators say they are gearing up for the change. "As a circulator, this is a godsend," says Micki Laporte, group circulation director for Cahners Business Information, citing increased flexibility with promotions and opportunities to use incremental renewals. …

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