Verified Audit CirculationViewPoint
Volume 4 | Number 4 | April 2008


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This Month's Features:
Verified Would Like to Welcome...
The Challenge of Cutting Distribution Costs
How Do You Promote Your Audit?
Events Calendar
Newspaper Sites Attract More Nonprint Readers
Tips and Techniques – Passing a Field Verification Survey
James Desser Retires from Long Career in Circulation Auditing and Research


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Verified Would Like to Welcome...

David AtlantaDavid Atlanta
Window Media LLC
Atlanta, GA

David Atlanta magazine is a free weekly digest-size entertainment guide that is distributed every Wednesday. It is available in local area nightclubs, book stores, and coffee houses as well as at various magazine racks and boxes primarily in the metro Atlanta region.

Canadian Immigrant MagazineCanadian Immigrant
Star Media Group
Toronto, ON

Canadian Immigrant is a monthly publication distributed throughout the Greater Toronto area. The publication appeals to all immigrants, regardless of their origin. The content is comprised of successful immigrant profiles; columns from experts in fields such as banking, labor law, and real estate; and stories of personal triumph. The magazine is available for free at outlets throughout the region and via paid subscription.

The Colfax RecordColfax Record
Gold Country Media
Colfax, CA

The Colfax Record is a community newspaper available at racks and delivered to homes in and around the Colfax area. Features include a news section, classifieds, and more.


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The Challenge of Cutting Distribution Costs

by Jennifer Armor

The Challenge of Cutting Distribution CostsDuring these tough economic times, publishers, like many other businesses, are seeking ways to cut costs. The question is, how do you reduce costs while maintaining editorial quality? Many are looking at distribution first when making the decision on where to find those dollars to trim.

Tom Fox, Vice President of Manufacturing and Technology, American Express Publishing/Time Inc., took a poll of conference goers prior to the IDEAAlliances' Print Media Executive Summit in St Petersburg, FL in February. He found that distribution outweighed all other cost-cutting areas for the attendees.

Recently, The Miami Herald and the Sun-Sentinel agreed to share distribution costs by having the Sun-Sentinel deliver the Herald, El Nuevo Herald and USA Today in Broward and Palm Beach counties. Although the deal only covers about 6–7% of the Herald's daily circulation, David Landsburg, Miami Herald's President and Publisher, said the deal would save a significant amount of money. Likewise, long-time rivals The Chicago Tribune is now delivering some copies of the Chicago Sun-Times in certain areas.

Kate Paine, Distribution Manager at Honolulu Weekly, a free weekly paper in Honolulu, HI, said that one way they are reducing costs is by rehabbing old racks rather than buying new ones. "If there are boxes that have been abandoned by pubs no longer publishing...we will pick up and repaint [them]," said Paine. She has also cut back her hours by about 25%.

Higher gas prices have had a big impact. According to Paine, they've cut back their restocks using her own truck to just two times per week and are using her moped and bicycle on the restock and rack repair days. Drivers are asking for greater reimbursement (presently $5/week). "Admin is still not willing to forward any increase," she said.

Said Jeff Davidson, Controller for the Greensheet, a free weekly shopper distributed in the Houston, Dallas–Ft. Worth, Austin, and Phoenix markets, "We are currently trying to cut paid distribution stops, and we are actually delivering other publications with ours to help with costs." According to Davidson, locations that charge a fee for the right to distribute the Greensheet costs the company about $1 million a year in rental fees. He said that although the Houston Greensheet is down about 2 to 4%, the other markets are steady or are slightly up.

What works for one paper may not work for another said Mark Herman, Circulation Director at the West Central Tribune, a paid daily paper in Wilmar, MN. "Everyone is looking for that silver bullet," he said.

Gas prices have been an issue for Herman as well. "We've added more [budget allowance] for gas," he said. The Tribune's gas allowance is on a sliding scale. "It started when gas was about $1.85 per gallon," continued Herman. "We pay seven-tenths of a cent for every ten cents gas goes up."

There has been cautious talk about piggybacking distribution at the West Central Tribune with other papers, according to Herman. Although it might save money in the short run, Herman doesn't want to drive off his long-time distribution contractors by overloading them.

On April 8, the Seattle Times said that it would cut nearly 200 staffers due to the effects of low ad revenue—131 of which were layoffs. Hardest hit was distribution. In an email to employees, Alayne Fardella, Vice President, said that 45 circulation workers, 30 newsroom employees and 24 advertising staff would be laid off. This is in addition to cuts made earlier in the year including 17 layoffs, mostly of circulation workers.

The pressure will continue to mount on papers to reduce costs as the economy outlook stays grim. More cuts are inevitable for just about everyone. Said Herman, "It's about survival. Which paper will be thrown off the island?"


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How Do You Promote Your Audit?

Take Our SurveyYou're making a considerable investment in being audited, so if you aren't promoting your audit effectively, it may be going to waste. As John Wanamaker said, "Half my advertising is wasted—I just don't know which half."

Verified would like to know: How are you promoting your audit?

We invite you to fill out a short survey that will take no more than five minutes of your time. Your information will be kept confidential and your answers will only be used in combination with others for statistical purposes. Your feedback is invaluable to us and we look forwarding to hearing what you have to say.

Survey questions:
1) Do you use the Verified logo in your publication and/or media kit?
2) Do you promote your audited status with house ads or other marketing materials?
3) Does your sales staff get a copy of your latest audit report?
4) If additional marketing materials were available, such as house ads, seminars, PowerPoint presentations, would you use them?
5) What do you think Verified should do to help you promote your audit?

While you're filling out surveys, please consider taking our Industry Outlook 2008 survey. The results of both surveys will be published in a future issue of ViewPoint.


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Events Calendar

The Marketing-to-Women Conference (M2W)
May 8 – 9, 2008
Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, IL
www.m2w.biz

MPA-IMAG Conference for Independent Publishers
May 14 – 16, 2008
Hotel Orrington, Evanston, IL
www.magazine.org

Editor & Publisher and Mediaweek's Interactive Media Conference and Trade Show
May 14 – 15, 2008
Rio, Las Vegas, NV
www.seeuthere.com

MarketingSherpa's 8th Annual Selling Online Subscriptions Summit 2008
May 12 – 13, 2008
Museum of Jewish Heritage, New York, NY
www.marketingsherpa.com

2008 NAA Foundation Young Readers Seminar
May 15 – 18, 2008
Sheraton Wild Horse Pass, Phoenix, AZ
www.naa.org

2008 CRMA Summer Conference
May 31 – June 2, 2008
The Peabody Memphis, Memphis, TN
www.citymag.org

Florida Press Association Annual Convention
June 5 – 6, 2008
Hilton in the Walt Disney Resort, Orlando, FL
www.flpress.com

Association of Alternative Newsweeklies
June 5 – 7, 2008
Marriott, Philadelphia, PA
www.ann.org
Alan Levy, VP of Marketing & Sales will be attending this event. If you would like to meet with Alan, please call 415-461-6006 (ext. 213) or email him at alevy@verifiedaudit.com.

Newspaper Change
June 9 –12, 2008
Media Management Center at Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
www.mediamanagementcenter.org

American Business Media 4th Annual Tradeshow Summit
June 10, 2008
Radisson Martinique Hotel, New York, NY
www.americanbusinessmedia.com

DM Days
June 10 – 12, 2008
Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, New York, NY
www.the-dma.org

Suburban Newspapers of America Family Owners' Conference
June 11 – 13, 2008
Elbow Beach Resort, Bermuda
www.suburban-news.org

2008 National Newspaper Publishers Association Convention
June 18 – 22, 2008
Hyatt Regency Louisville Hotel, Louisville, KY
www.nnpa.org

2008 Alliance of Area Business Publications Conference
June 19 – 21, 2008
The Mills House Hotel, Charleston, SC
www.bizpubs.org

IABC 2008 International Conference
June 22 – 25, 2008
New York Hilton, New York, NY
www.iabc.com

Digital Strategies for Media Executives
June 22 – 25, 2008
Media Management Center at Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
www.mediamanagementcenter.org

Circulation Management Conference & Expo
June 23 – 25, 2008
Hyatt Regency Chicago, Chicago, IL
www.circmanshow.com
Alan Levy, VP of Marketing & Sales will be attending this event. If you would like to meet with Alan, please call 415-461-6006, ext. 213, or email him at alevy@verifiedaudit.com. Jennifer Armor, Audit Manager, will also be attending.

If you have an event that you would like to announce, please send your information
to e-newsletter@verifiedaudit.com.


Back to TopNewspaper Sites Attract More Nonprint Readers

Attracting Nonprint ReadersLast week, a comScore study showed that younger people interested in news—a natural constituency in previous decades—are ditching print newspapers at an alarming rate. The good news: Online newspaper sites are attracting many of these nonprint readers.

Specifically, comScore found that 18- to-24-year-olds were 38% more likely than the general population not to read a newspaper in a typical week. The 35–44 cohort were 9% more likely not to read one. The flip comes with the 45–54 cohort, which were 24% more likely than the general population to read one.

Some would argue the data simply reflects the fact that young people are less interested in news in general. But the comScore study says it's just the reverse. Nonnewspaper readers consume more news in general than heavy newspaper readers from a variety of online sources, including newspaper websites.

That's a plus for newspaper websites, with nonprint readers 4% more likely to visit The New York Times website, 6% more likely to visit The Wall Street Journal, 12% more likely to visit the Los Angeles Times, and 8% more likely to visit the Chicago Tribune.

But the news is tempered by the presence of myriad online competitors, as online news consumers also crave variety. They were 29% more likely to visit FoxNews online, 15% more likely to visit CBS News digital, 24% more likely to visit Topix, and 18% more likely to visit Google News.

The finding is further tempered by the relatively small size of online revenues compared to the rest of their operations. Online contributed about 10% of total revenues for The New York Times Company in 2007, 8% at McClatchy, and about 13% at The Washington Post and 5% at Gannett. However, in the latter two cases, the percentage growth is partly attributable to steep declines in overall revenues, meaning the basis of comparison is shrinking.

2008 MediaPost Communications


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Tips & Techniques Passing a Field Verification Survey

by Josh Luck

It can be challenging to keep tabs on your distribution network, whether you manage your own staff or work with an outside distribution company. One way to ensure your paper is being distributed accurately and effectively is to conduct a field survey. A survey measures the accuracy of your distribution and provides important feedback on your systems and procedures.

Below are some tips that will help you achieve positive results every time:

  • Be sure to send a current and complete set of route lists to your account coordinator every quarter. Updated route lists are vital for a successful survey.
  • Route list must include a coversheet that lists the delivered route names (i.e., 5B, Charlie Jones, Downtown) and, most importantly, gives accurate delivery days and times. This can make or break a field audit.
  • Street addresses must include directional flags if necessary. For example, if a drop location is on Worcester Blvd, it should specify whether it is East or West Worcester Blvd.
  • Lists should note specific locations within the business/location where the paper is delivered (i.e., counter, by the bathrooms, outside box, north corner, etc.)
  • Driver feedback is key. The driver's list must specify locations where the deliveries and pickups are affected (i.e., closed locations, out of business, damaged rack, etc.)
  • Driver lists should include notations about additions or reductions in drop totals. If a stop is supposed to receive 25 copies and you drop 50 instead, this must be documented by the driver.
  • If you report returns, they must accurately reflect the number of copies picked up by the driver. If your driver is unable to pick up returns at the time of delivery, you must estimate returns based on the average return rate for other locations on the route. For example, if you drop 50 copies at a stop and the average return rate for the route is 9%, the estimated returns for that stop is 5 copies.

Rack It!Meet regularly with drivers to make sure stops aren't being skipped, closed locations are being deleted from the route lists, and business name changes are being reported. Your drivers can be a good resource and give you helpful suggestions about your distribution.

After the survey is complete, be sure to fax over the requested driver's list promptly so that a field survey report can be issued quickly. If there was a problem with delivery for that particular issue (e.g., late delivery from the press), you must notify Verified immediately.

A Field Verifications Survey is an invaluable tool that enables publishers and circulation managers to keep pace with the community at large. By following these tips, you will pass your field audit and ensure your advertisers are receiving optimal exposure.

If you have any questions about Field Verification Surveys, please contact Verified at 415-461-6006.


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James Desser Retires from Long Career in
Circulation Auditing and Research

After more than 27 years serving in numerous roles at Verified Audit Circulation (VAC), James Desser has decided to retire from the business. Desser has served most recently as Chief Operating Officer at Verified, where he contributed to the company's many technical innovations while overseeing day-to-day business activities.

The company, founded in 1951, operated for many years under the leadership of Jim's father, Alan Desser. During this time, the company grew to become a leader in circulation auditing and research for print media and direct marketing.

"Jim's influence over the years has been huge," says Verified CEO, Tim Prouty. "He played a vital role in our online reporting and the development of our standards and procedures for auditing electronic media."

Known throughout the industry for his advocacy and support of excellence in circulation auditing and research, Desser's contribution helped expand the company's leadership role serving clients in an ever-changing media landscape.


Please send comments and story ideas to e-newsletter@verifiedaudit.com or contact us at:

Verified Audit Circulation
900 Larkspur Landing Circle, Suite 295
Larkspur, CA 94939-1758
415.461.6006
415.461.6007 fax

 

2008 Verified Audit Circulation.