It was a curious decision by Business Week, which Thursday announced plans to have its circulation simultaneously audited by BPA Worldwide, as well as its long-standing auditor, the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
Business Week said the move has nothing to do with any looming scandal, and there have not been any red flags over the magazine's circulation. Indeed, the company appears to have a pretty clean auditing history. Is the magazine simply making a statement within a magazine industry that has been hammered by shady practices? One that says: "Look, we are cleaner than most?"
According to Tom Masterson, Business Week's vice president-worldwide circulation director, that's exactly the case. "We are a very transparent company," he said. "We are trying to take a leadership position in the industry. We really want to send a message."
However, could this be read as an indictment of the ABC, which has received some criticism for not unearthing discrepancies at Gruner + Jahr and at several newspapers? Is Business Week in effect saying that they are not comfortable being audited by just the ABC, and that they need a second opinion?
In a statement released Thursday, Masterson appeared to take a shot at the ABC's lack of speed: "We would like to see faster disclosure and verification of circulation data," he said. "With real-time information such as daily newsstand sales from retailer scan data, why should the publishing industry and its advertisers wait for 12 months or more for audited newsstand sales?"
In an interview yesterday, he again hinted at dissatisfaction with current auditing procedures. "Nielsen has overnight ratings, the Internet has instantaneous data, and we are operating on the basis of something that was done 75 years ago."
Yet when asked directly, he was quick to defend ABC: "We have the utmost confidence in ABC. We are not unhappy with ABC."
Perhaps this was just a nice win for BPA Worldwide, which has been adding a number of consumer titles to its roster of late. Are they considered to maintain a faster, more thorough, more efficient standard? Could this lead a group of publishers to switch auditors down the road?
It will be interesting to see how this turns out.
MPA Contributes to Advertising Week
Next week, as New York is infiltrated by advertising icons, and those in the business split their time between a growing list of parties and conferences, the magazine business will have a major presence. The Magazine Publishers of America (MPA) is producing "Great Moments in Magazine Advertising," featuring two well-known ads from last June's Kelly Awards--the Milk Board "milk mustache" campaign (Lowe New York) and the Volkswagen Beetle "0-60" ad (Arnold Worldwide). The MPA has scattered posters featuring these ads about town--at Grand Central Station, Pennsylvania Station, and Times Square, among other places.
The "milk mustache" posters features Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler, while the Volkswagen ad shows a red Beetle on a plain white background with copy that reads: "0-60? Yes."
The MPA is also contributing to the deluge of meetings next week, as they will host the Consumer Marketing Conference, a two-day event focusing on the business of circulation--a conference that many probably would have dodged in the past, but has recently become top of mind for a lot of folks in the business.
The conference will take place September 20 and 21, at the Coleman Conference Center, 810 Seventh Ave. Other MPA events slated for the week include "Successful Marketing and Promotion," on September 22, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., MPA Conference Center, 810 Seventh Ave. Both events will be open to the public.
MPA executives will also be sharing their expertise during ad week. On September 22, MPA executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Ellen Oppenheim will be a panelist at Media Magazine's "Forecast 2005: Unmanageable Complexity in the Media Mix."
Plus, on September 23, MPA President and CEO Nina Link will appear on a panel hosted by the Audit Bureau of Circulations: "Surviving the Re-Shaping of the American Advertising Business."
Metropolitan Home, Playing For The Homeless
Metropolitan Home is once again teaming up with the New York Design Center to host the third annual Design Cares: Carnival! on Tuesday, October 5 at the New York Design Center. The event, which features cheeky games and attractions like "Shleppers Strong Man Game," and "Odegard's Tarot Card booth," will direct all proceeds to the Partnership for the Homeless for the benefit of New York's City's homeless children.
For those interested, the entrance fee is $25 and game tickets are $5 each. Advance tickets can be purchased before the event by calling 212.679.9500, ext. 13 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
SchoolSports Hires Former Baller
SchoolSports magazine, a national publication celebrating high school athletes, has hired Kris Stone as its new associate publisher. Stone is being brought in for his expertise on the urban teen male market, having previously served as the national account manager for Slam magazine.
Prior to working at Slam, Stone worked for Double Pump Inc., a national amateur basketball organization. Previously, Stone served as the student assistant basketball coach at Fresno State University under Coach Jerry Tarkanian. Stone also started in the same backcourt for three years with current New Jersey Net Jason Kidd at St. Joseph Notre Dame High School in Alameda, California, where they won a state championship in 1991.