iewPoint | Volume 2 | Number 12 | December 2006
A forum for news about Verified and the business in which we thrive.

This Month's Features:
Verified Would Like to Welcome...
Verified's New Turnkey Reader Survey
Newspapers Are Primary Shopping Medium for Most Americans
Events Calendar
Return Rate Study of Publications with Target Circulation

to e-newsletter

to main page

view the archive

Verified Would Like to Welcome...

El Grafico

La Prensa Grafica
La Libertad, El Salvador C.A.

El Grafico reports on the latest in national and international sporting news.

Motor is a magazine whose focus is on cars and driving. Features include new car reviews, racing news, the latest in automobile technology and accessories.

Ella is a fashion and style magazine for Salvadorean women. Features include fashion, shopping, celebrity news, diet, and health.

Blur is a lifestyle magazine that features the best in culture, home & design, travel, fine dining, events, arts and entertainment.

GUIA Directorio en Español

HYP Network, LLC
Tampa, FL

Hispanic Yellow Pages Network's goal is to publish the best Spanish-language yellow pages directories in the U.S. providing valuable information to users and an effective vehicle for local business to reach the Hispanic consumer. HYP Network celebrates and supports the rich heritage of the Hispanic community in the Chicago metro area.

Northwest Home + Garden
Tiger Oak Publications
Seattle, WA

Northwest Home + Garden is a bimonthly regional shelter magazine designed to help readers live better lives in their homes by getting the most out of their living spaces, gardens and personal sanctuaries by focusing on interior design, architecture, furniture and remodels.

Verified's New Turnkey Reader Survey

Verified and the Alternative Weekly Network (AWN) have collaborated to create a practical way to gather valuable reader shopping habits and demographic information.

This turnkey survey meets the Distilled Spirit Council's (DiSCUS) guidelines for measurement of legal purchasing age. In addition, survey topics include major purchases, leisure activities, age, income, education, home ownership, and more. Please click here to view the entire survey.

The survey was created to be simple and affordable. Verified designed the questionnaire and provides complete technical support.

Surveys can be conducted in print, online or both. A mail or online survey can be done for $1,500. For both a mail and online survey combined, the price is $2,600.

Publications provide their own prizes for the drawing and should promote participation in their publication and/or online.

"The goal for this project was to develop and market an affordable, turn-key survey providing demographic data to comply with the DiSCUS Code plus leverage the survey to gather additional readership data for joint use by publishers and AWN," said Jim Desser, Verified's president.

To learn more, contact Vanessa Espinoza at (415) 461-6006, ext. 204 or John Lowman at (415) 461-6006, ext. 213.

Newspapers Are Primary Shopping Medium for Most Americans

According to research by MORI Research for the Newspaper Association of America, almost two-thirds of American adults actively check advertising at least weekly for things they might want to buy, but they are selective about when and where they check advertising.

(A Note on Terms: The terms "inserts," "free-standing inserts," "FSIs," and "preprints" are used more or less interchangeably in the industry. In this report "inserts" and "preprints" refer to newspaper formats of this advertising.)

Sunday is by far the most likely day for about one half of shoppers to consult advertising, while Saturday is a distant second, noted by one-fifth of consumers. The only other days in double figures are Wednesday and Friday, at 13 percent each.

Despite readership declines, newspapers are, by a substantial margin, the leading destination for people interested in checking advertising and shopping information. This pattern is consistent across several indicators, including:
  • Usage of different media in both the previous 7 days and previous 30 days
  • Primary shopping and advertising information source among media in general
  • Primary shopping and advertising source for major store categories individually
  • Preferred media source for preprint delivery, and
  • Preferred media source for nongrocery coupons.
For example, notes the report summary,
  • 53 percent of adults used newspapers to make a shopping or purchase decision in the previous 30 days, while 27 percent used the Internet, which now is the second-leading source.
  • Even within the high-income ($100K+) shoppers, almost one-half say that newspapers are their primary shopping medium, compared with one third who rely on the Internet.
  • A plurality among those age 18-24 consider the Internet to be their primary advertising source, but reliance on newspapers (including preprints) jumps markedly among the 25-34 age group who are married with children.
Some of the response regarding preprint reading includes:
  • Newspaper-insert usage remains substantial. Almost half (46 percent) of adults used newspaper preprints in the previous week for shopping planning, as did 64 percent in the past 30 days. Three-fourths of adults (77 percent) read preprints at least occasionally
  • Insert readership is especially strong among women and primary household shoppers (who tend to be women). Men, however, lead on some store categories. Minority adults, especially African Americans, also are consistently above average in reading preprints
  • Newspaper readers (48 percent) say they look through most inserts. Other readers divide about equally between looking at inserts from their regular stores, plus a few others, and looking at only those from their regular stores.
  • Almost one-half (45 percent) of newspaper-preprint readers have played the advocate role in the previous 30 days by suggesting to friends or relatives that they look at a particular insert. Almost as many (41 percent) took an insert with them while shopping in the past month
  • Preprint readers keep their preprints for an average of four days.
  • Readership of preprints by direct mail is considerably lower than it is for newspapers: 29 percent in the past 7 days and 46 percent in the past 30 days. Consumers also prefer newspaper delivery over direct mail by a more than two-to-one margin. Sunday subscribers feel especially strongly about this
  • The leading occasions for using preprints are for checking sales or when one is in the market to buy something (three-fourths of readers). Two-thirds of readers like to browse even when they are not looking for anything in particular, while around one-half use inserts to plan their regular shopping.
  • Regarding preferred page size for preprints, 37 percent favor newsweekly size, 30 percent favor tabloids, and 20 percent like broadsheets. On the other hand, preference for glossy pages over newsprint is robust.
  • Eight-page inserts are preferred over 24-pages by a two-to-one margin, while very small groups of consumers prefer larger options.
  • Newspaper Web site users, who tend to be among the most active online shoppers, favor printed inserts over online versions by a two-to-one margin, which suggests that online preprints are not as convenient or easy to use. Almost two-thirds of American adults say they "check out advertising or shopping information for things you might want to buy" at least weekly, with 1 in 5 adults conducting this search daily and another 42 percent saying less often, but at least weekly.
  • Women (68 percent) lead men (56 percent) in each age group. Primary household shoppers (who tend to be women) also are high at 67 percent. For both genders, regular ad checking increases slowly with age, with the 55+ group leading the 18-to-34 group by 10 points. Middle-income adults (65 percent) are somewhat higher on this measure compared with those above $100,000 or below $35,000 (both at 59 percent)
  • Newspaper reading in general drives advertising usage. For example, 71 percent of frequent weekday readers (4-6 issues per week) consult advertising weekly, compared with 61 percent among those who read less often, and only 47 percent for nonreaders
© 2006 MediaPost Communications

Events Calendar

13th Annual Marketing to US Hispanics and Latin America
January 21–23, 2007
Miami Beach Resort and Spa, Miami Beach, FL

Kentucky Press Association Winter Convention
January 25–26, 2007
Hyatt Regency, Louisville, KY

Mississippi Press Association Mid-Winter Conference
January 25–27, 2007
Hilton Hotel, Jackson, MS

Association of Alternative Newsweeklies West
January 26–27, 2007
Miyako Hotel, San Francisco, CA

Newspaper Association of America Marketing Conference 2007
January 28–31, 2007
Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Las Vegas, NV

California Newspaper Publishers Association
11th Annual Governmental Affairs Day and CNPA Quarterly Board Meeting
January 31–February 1, 2007
Grand Sheraton, Sacramento, CA

Iowa Newspaper Association Convention & Trade Show
February 1–2, 2007
Des Moines Marriott, Des Moines, IA

Tennessee Press Association Press Institute and Winter Convention
February 7–9, 2007
Sheraton Nashville Downtown Hotel, Nashville, TN

New England Press Association Convention and Trade Show
February 9–10, 2007
Boston Park Plaza Hotel, Boston, MA

ABM Thought Leadership Breakfast Series – One Team.
One Goal…Success: Sales, Editor, Operations & Audience Development Together
February 14, 2007
Scholastic International, New York, NY

Association of Alternative Newsweeklies East
February 16–17, 2007
Hotel Washington, Washington, DC

Alabama Press Association 136th Winter Convention
February 22–24, 2007
Wynfrey Hotel, Birmingham, AL

Magazine Publishers of America
Magazines 24/7: Connecting with the Consumer
February 27, 2007
City University of New York Graduate Center, New York, NY

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

Return Rate Study of Publications with Target Circulation

The Study
The goal of most publications is simple: circulate the greatest number of copies to maximize their print investment, control distribution costs and grow net circulation. An indispensable way to achieve this objective is to carefully manage returns.

With over 50 years of experience in auditing circulation, Verified is often asked by publishers, "How am I doing?" The aim of the study is to help publications understand and manage their returns effectively. This study is relevant to the entire staff—publishers, editors, designers and circulation—as all play an integral role in the successful circulation of a publication.

Publication business models vary. Some publications precisely control returns and aim for 100 percent pick-up. Other publications never want to have an empty rack. Because of this, return tolerances vary widely, too. The study found return rates as low as 1.5 percent and as high as 29 percent.

Although this study does not intend to determine what is best for your publication, it does give you starting point to evaluate your returns.

The study group included all publications audited by Verified and who reported Target distribution for all four quarters of 2005 (January 1–December 31, 2005). Publications were required to be active and clients in good standing with Verified during that period. The study included both publications whose primary method of distribution is Target as well as publications whose circulation contains only a small percentage of Target distribution.

The study group was divided into four sub-groups based on the average total printed.

Group Total Printed
1 Over 100,000
2 50,000 to 100,000
3 25,000–50,000
4 25,000 or less

If, over the one-year period, the total printed changed sufficiently to produce a change of group classification, the publication was rounded to the closest group category or the group that most closely matched the circulation trend of the publication.

Overall, the average return rate of all publications of all sizes was 8.66 percent.

The return rate by total printed:

Group Return Rate %
1 5.34%
2 9.01%
3 11.18%
4 9.14%

Verified also audits publications that are printed in languages other than English.

The return rate by language:

Language Return Rate %
Spanish 8.39%
French 7.22%
English 9.06%

Geographic location was also a factor in return rates.

The return rate by state:

State Return Rate %
AR 3.23%
AZ 12.33%
CA 7.04%
CO 4.27%
DC 9.89%
FL 6.75%
GA 8.85%
HI 6.51%
IL 4.51%
KY 7.4%
MA 9.87%
MI 6.84%
MN 17.56%
MT 9.44%
NC 7.66%
NJ 7.8%
NM 6.51%
NY 7.80%
OH 6.63%
PA 6.05%
SC 10.84%
TN 4.62%
TX 15.92%
UT 9.91%
VA 8.85%
VT 5.12%
WA 8.72%
WI 9.54%
CANADA 10.37%

Clearly, one size does not fit all. Return rates vary broadly and are based on multiple factors, some of which you can't control, such as the competition in your market, and some you can control, such as the location of racks, consistency of delivery, professionalism of your staff, etc. Because Verified's Audit Reports are based on net distribution, it is vital to know and understand the return rate of your publication.

How are you doing?

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.