BPA Amends 50% of Basic Rule
BPA International, the venerable auditing firm, has formally amended the 50% of basic rule and will no longer use the century-old standard of reporting paid circulation.
The old rule, which has been part of the postal code since the 1880s and was adopted by the circulation audit organizations, states no subscription can be reported as paid unless it is sold for at least half of the basic subscription price set by the publisher.
The new rule will become effective January 1, 2001, with the June 2001 cycle being the first to showcase the new reporting format in circulation statements. "This declaration is the result of nearly eighteen months of intensive committee and taskforce meetings which began in July 1999," BPA president and CEO Glenn J. Hansen said.
"There have been several changes in consumer marketing with respect to consumer magazines in particular. Publishers can no longer rely upon sweepstakes, clearinghouses, and other traditional marketing sources to expand their circulation. BPA believed that we needed to respond to these issues and help our membership keep pace with what was happening in the marketplace." According to Richard Murphy, BPA's SVP, auditing, the catalyst for the rule change came from a Canadian newspaper member, the Toronto Star, which suggested BPA consider eliminating the American standard of reporting circulation and adopt a global criterion. "Our Canadian members were instrumental in the amendment and adoption of the new rule change," Murphy said. "Responding to requests from Canadian newspaper publishers and media buyers, BPA's board of directors expanded the definition of paid circulation for newspapers to include multiple price points. As a result of this change, our board issued a directive at its May 6, 1999 meeting instructing BPA to study the issue of expanding and enhancing the definition of paid circulation for print properties. We diligently pursued the issue with our U.S., Canadian and European advisory boards. All were unanimously in favor of new rules and reporting format." "We held meetings with media buyers and found they weren't using all the data on the BPA report. These meetings were enlightening. It was important for us to know what information media buyers found pertinent for their buying and planning purposes. Once we acquired their input, we embarked upon a redesign of our report format to compliment our new rules, without compromising the data media buyers found necessary to make an educated buy," Hansen said. Circulation professionals also benefit from the new rules because it allows them to fully disclose subscription sales at all price points. "For years, we have had to say `no' to many marketing opportunities because of the old rule," said Susan Allyn, associate circulation director for EMAP Petersen and a member of BPA's circulation managers advisory committee. "Now, we have the freedom to extend our print brand to include other products and servi