iewPoint | Volume 2 | Number 5 | May 2006
A forum for news about Verified and the business in which we thrive.

This Month's Features:
Verified Would Like to Welcome...
Public-Place Copies Have Value
Political Ad Dollars Up for 2006
Custom Publishing Continues Growth Trend
Events Calendar
Circulation Tips and Insights – Target Distribution

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Verified Would Like to Welcome...

El Paso y Mas
Texas-New Mexico Newspaper Partnership
El Paso, TX

El Paso y Mas is a daily community paper delivered to homes and available in racks in and around El Paso. Features include news, community events, classifieds, and more.

PaperCity – Houston / PaperCity – Dallas
Urban Publishing, Inc.
Houston, TX

PaperCity Magazine is a style publication covering fashion, home design, social travel, restaurants, and entertainment with lively coverage of parties, galas, and charity events. PaperCity caters to affluent male and female readers who shop, eat out, work out, and go out frequently.

944 Magazine – Las Vegas
944 Magazine – San Diego
944 Media, Inc.
Las Vegas, NV

944 Magazine hits a niche in a previously untapped marketplace: young, affluent, upwardly mobile, and stylish professionals who strive for the finer things in life. Editorial content encompasses local business profiles and articles regarding local development, spas, artists, designers, and events. Content is image-focused, with coverage of hairstyles, boutique owners, local fashion/jewelry designers, the local dining/culinary scene, and profiles of bands, music, clubs, and bars.

Public-Place Copies Have Value

While publishers have long touted the value of public-place copies, advertisers have been reluctant to accept their claims. A recent study commissioned by Time Inc. and Mediaedge:cia concluded that the magazines you find in doctors' offices, hair salons, and airports have more advertising value than originally thought.

"Intuitively, we thought that people perused the copies, but we had questions as to the level of engagement they had versus newsstand or subscription readers," said George Janson, managing partner and director of print at Mediaedge:cia.

The study was conducted online in January by M&RR, an independent research firm. Respondents were part of a 4.5 million-household Internet panel in the U.S.
  • 29% said they have bought or intended to buy something advertised in a magazine from the newsstand or a subscription, while 19% of the public-place readers said they did.
  • 27% said they had "followed up" on an ad from a newsstand or subscriber copy, while 15% public-place readers said they did.
However, the apparent gaps between the two categories are overcome by the larger number of readers of public-place copies. The study also found engagement and absorbtion was much higher for public-place readers. Public-place readers said they had more time to devote to just reading magazines, felt less guilty about reading them instead of doing other things, and multitasked less while reading them.

Political Ad Dollars Up for 2006

The 2004 election was the most expensive campaign ever in terms of media. In October 2004, the Washington Times reported that campaign spending reached nearly $4 billion. This figure included both presidential and congressional campaigns.

The 2006 election promises to be as expensive across all media. Equities research firm Merrill Lynch issued a report in April 2006 upgrading its status for U.S. ad spending in 2006 due to increased midterm election campaign ad spending.

The American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA) recently issued a bulletin warning its members to be prepared for the increase in political ad spending: "A media-buying frenzy related to the 2006 midterm elections could create significant shortages—increase the cost—of broadcast and other ad space in many cities and states during the next six months."

TNS Media Intelligence, an ad-spending tracking firm, released a spending forecast predicting "perfect storm" conditions in key markets. Although it is considered an election "off-year," TNS reported that the "sheer number of open and competitive federal, state, and local races in 2006, as well as increasing contribution limits," would cause pressure.

TNS projects ad spending of more than $1 billion in the 2006 election race, as individuals are allowed to donate an additional $100 per federal candidate per election.

The AAAA identified certain key markets as the most prone to tight ad inventory conditions: New York (Central and Upstate), Pennsylvania (Philadelphia and Harrisburg area), Florida (South Florida), Tennessee (Memphis and Nashville area), Washington, Michigan (Detroit area), Massachusetts, Arizona, Ohio, California, Maryland, Washington DC suburbs, Minnesota (Minneapolis/St Paul area).

Spending for online political ads in 2000 was $3 million. In 2004, ad spending skyrocketed 733% to $25 million. Looking toward the major elections of 2006 and 2008, online political ad spending is likely to continue its explosive growth.

While political ad spending on newspapers remained relatively flat during the same period—2.1% in 2000 and 2.2% in 2004—newspapers are poised to garner some of the online ad dollars. Newspapers have built some of the nation's best Websites, giving them the opportunity at all levels of political races—as well as for issue-driven referendums—to offer powerful advertising and promotion mediums.

This is especially true in the realm of "package message" deals that allow political candidates and their supporters fresh and effective means of reaching established constituencies and new supporters through a combination of print and Web advertising and promotion vehicles.

Custom Publishing Continues Growth Trend

A study released by the Custom Publishing Council (CPC) and Publications Management titled "A Look at the Volume and Type of Custom Publications in America," tells an upbeat story. The study found that custom publishing is flourishing while consumer print publishing is experiencing intense online pressure.

Custom publishing for 2005 continued its six-year growth trend with corporations spending $45.8 billion, doubling the amount they spent in 2000. They are also growing in size, with 25 pages per issue, an 80 percent increase since 1999.

Circulation numbers are on the rise with a 20 percent increase since 2004. The CPC reported that publishers are seeing advertising growth, too. In 2005, 54 percent of custom publications ran paid ads from outside advertisers, while 20 percent carried in-house ads.

There are more copies of custom magazines distributed than ever—an estimated 34 billion, according to the CPC. Redwood Custom Communications publishes Food & Family for Kraft Foods. The English and Spanish versions reach 10 million U.S. households and the English and French versions, titled What's Cooking, reaches an additional 2 million Canadians.

New partnerships are being formed, such as the alliance between National Geographic and The Magazine Group. Rather than launch a custom arm of its own, Stephen Giannetti, VP and group publisher for the National Geographic Group, said, "We looked at scenarios where we use edit staff of one of our magazines."

"It could have been done for one magazine," Giannetti continued. "With custom publishing, though, you want multiple magazines, you want people dedicated to it. We weren't in the position to hire and bring on a large staff of people just to work on custom publishing."

Membership in the CPC has risen from 25 companies in 2002 to 87 today. However, traditional publishers involved in custom publishing, such as Hearst, have taken a step back. Hearst, who once worked with more than 30 clients, now has just three.

"Custom publishing sits at the center of the evolution of marketing toward branded content," said CPC Chair Jim Offel, general manager of Diablo Custom Publishing. "The research clearly shows that marketers are increasingly relying on custom publications to boost their brands."

Events Calendar

Canadian Community Newspaper Association National Convention
May 24–27, 2006
Delta Quebec, Quebec City, QU, Canada

American Association of Independent News Distributors Spring Conference
May 24–27, 2006
Fairmont Copley Plaza, Boston, MA

Association of Area Business Publications Summer 2006 Conference
June 1–3, 2006
Peabody Little Rock Hotel, Little Rock, AR

Montana Newspaper Association 121st Annual Convention
June 8–10, 2006
Holiday Inn Missoula-Parkside, Missoula, MT

Virginia Press Association 125th Anniversary Celebration
June 9–10, 2006
The Homestead, Hot Springs, VA

Free Community Papers of New York
June 11–13, 2006
Beaver Hollow Conference Center, Java Center, NY

Circulation Management Conference & Expo
June 14–16, 2006
Hyattt Regency Chicago, Chicago, IL

Tennessee Press Association Summer Convention
June 14–16, 2006
Chattanooga Choo Choo Holiday Inn, Chattanooga, TN

South Carolina Press Association 2006 IRE Conference
June 15–18, 2006
Renaissance Worthington Hotel, Dallas/Fort Worth, TX

City and Regional Magazine Association (CRMA) 30th Annual Conference
June 17–19, 2006
Boston Marriott, Boston, MA

John Lowman from Verified Audit Circulation will be on hand at the CRMA conference in Boston to introduce you to our latest products and answer questions about our auditing and research services.

American Society of Business Publication Editors National Editorial Conference
June 20–21, 2006
Embassy Suites Hotel – Chicago Downtown Lakefront, Chicago, IL

National Newspaper Publishers Association National Convention
June 20–25, 2006
Marriott Renaissance Center, Detroit, MI

Mississippi Press Association Convention
June 22–24, 2006
Imperial Palace, Biloxi, MS

Texas Press Association 127th Summer Convention
June 22–24, 2006
The Woodlands Waterway Marriott, The Woodlands, TX

National Society of Newspaper Columnists Convention
June 29–July 2, 2006
Omni Parker House, Boston, MA

American Press Institute
Circulation Executives: Best Practices for Increasing Readership, Revenue and ROI Seminar
July 9–14, 2006
Sheraton Reston, Reston, VA

California Newspaper Publishers Association 2006 Conference: Courage & Credibility
July 13–15, 2006
Sheraton Universal Hotel, Universal City, CA

North Carolina Publishers Association Annual Convention
July 13–16, 2006
Holiday Inn Sunspree, Wrightsville Beach, NC

Midwest Free Community Papers Conference
July 14–15, 2006
West Des Moines Marriott, West Des Moines, IA

If you have an event that you would like to announce, please send your information to

Circulation Tips and Insights – Target Distribution

Connect With Your Community
Distribution is as important as any other part of your business. Give it the attention it needs and you will increase readership, build reader and advertiser loyalty, and enhance your reputation in your community.
  • Match distribution locations to your readers' lifestyles
  • Offer engaging articles, focus on issues and news that are important to your readers
  • Keep racks well maintained and attractive
  • Keep papers clean and neat, untie bundles, and don't allow litter or old copies to clutter the area
  • Deliver papers on time every week
  • Make sure your delivery staff is professional
Impress Advertisers
Advertisers are readers and community members. Many distribute the paper at or near their businesses. Your distribution practices have a big influence on their impression of your publication. Local advertising success leads to national advertising success. The effort you make with local advertisers will support your regional and national advertising sales.
  • Distribute where your advertisers' customers are
  • Develop content that will be of interest to your advertisers' customers
  • Deliver on time and consistently every week
  • Get drop quantities right
  • Be neat and professional
  • List advertisers/distribution points in your publication
Optimize Distribution
Your distribution policies and practices are the key to your success. Maximize the value of your investment in sales, production, and printing with excellent distribution.
  • Maintain accurate, up-to-date route lists that are easy to read
  • Include with your route list complete addresses with ZIP/Postal Codes and cross streets
  • Add phone numbers to your route list whenever possible
  • List locations in delivery order indicating where to find/leave papers
  • Lists need to include the expected drop totals as well as a space for drivers to note adjustments to drops, returns, and additional information (new or closed locations, start and stop times, comments, etc.)
  • Maintain a summary page for every issue (drops, returns, net, staff, etc.)
  • Deal with closed locations by checking for returns during open hours, changing delivery schedule, or applying average return rates from open locations
  • Use a good circulation software system or develop in-house data management programs such as Excel, FileMaker, or Access
  • Make backups (stored offsite) and save historical records
  • Carefully analyze your distribution performance; monitor return rates per route, per issue, per month, etc.
  • Track time for delivering routes and watch complaints
  • Utilize your sales staff to stay in touch with distribution locations/businesses; make phone calls and periodic visits
Manage Staff and Contractors
You are only as good as your people. Let them know how much you value their contribution. Pay a good wage and communicate your expectations. Insist on high achievement and praise good performance. Welcome feedback to support simple, efficient systems.
  • Communicate early and often with your staff
  • Set high performance expectations and insist that your staff is accountable and professional
  • Regularly conduct your own regular field surveys to monitor performance
  • If you contract with an independent company for distribution, make sure you work closely with them at all times; stay in charge of the relationship—you are paying the bills and your needs must be met
  • Communicate your high expectations to contractors and share the same specifics and performance expectations outlined above

Please send comments and story ideas to or contact us at:

Verified Audit Circulation
900 Larkspur Landing Circle, Suite 295
Larkspur, CA 94939-1758
Phone: (415) 461-6006
Fax: (415) 461-6007

© 2006 Verified Audit Circulation.