Recognizing that concern, audience data auditor BPA Worldwide is giving publishers the leeway to opt out of reporting "age of source" data that indicate how recently they acquired subscribers.
Typically, the BPA lets publishers break out that information in segments of within one, two and three years, Glenn Shutz, a spokesperson for the company, said in an interview.
The company is currently compiling the data for its June 2020 Brand Reports. It recognizes the Covid-19 crisis may lead publishers to postpone their consent campaigns while businesses close their offices and urge employees to work from home.
Evidence of "qualified subscribers" must be dated within 36 months of the issue analyzed for audit, according to BPA, which recommends that publishers with a significant number of subscribers aging beyond 36 months should contact it for advice.
The coronavirus pandemic is the most significant challenge facing the publishing industry since the 2008 financial crisis led to the deepest recession in 80 years. Ideally, emergency measures to limit travel and personal contact with others will help to suppress the infection rate while researchers develop a vaccine.
Until then, publishers can expect significant disruptions to their operations.