It’s as easy as ABC

The Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) reported that daily newspaper circulation statistics were up for the most recent six-month period — the final quarter of last year and first quarter of this year.  At first this sounded great, and contrasted with the recent news that the Times-Picayune was ceasing daily newsprint publication in part because of slipping circulation and advertising revenue.

There are 618 daily newspapers who are members of the ABC and the member papers rely on these regular circulation reports to set their individual advertising rates.

The fine print, however, was not quite as encouraging.  As it turns out, newsprint subscribers who also can register — often for free — to use the online news version can be counted as two subscribers for the purposes of the ABC reports.

Oh, no! I am me AND myself, as it turns out.

I subscribe to the NYTimes which is delivered to my home, and I check the online version whenever the need arises. Is this really two products that I subscribe to in a bundle? When I had my subscription to the newsprint version but had not activated my online account was I paying for something I didn’t really get?  Or does my subscription to the newsprint version have a secret bonus of online access?   Hmm.

If this were voting wouldn’t it might be considered fraud?

The print on this is pretty fine.  So, where are we really with the numbers?


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