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October 2014

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This Month's Features:

City & Regional Magazines Rely On Print Advertising
MPA Axes Ad Pages, Bows Media 360 Report
Events Calendar
Younger Affluent Audiences Open To Native Ads, Report Finds
Tips & Techniques: Enhanced Audit

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City & Regional Magazines Rely On Print Advertising

According to FOLIO:'s annual survey of city and regional magazine publishers, print may be dying, but it's still lively enough to carry the city and regional magazine industry. Local titles rely on print for as much as 93% of their annual revenue. Companies aren't shying away from it either; more print products are scheduled to launch in 2014 than at any point in the last 5 years.

Along with the rest of the publishing industry, print peaked in the mid-2000s for city and regional magazines, notes the report. It accounted for up to 95.9% of overall revenue in 2005, but it hasn't dipped far from that point. While custom publishing contracts have taken the place of a few ad dollars, the print-to-nonprint revenue ratio is just a few points off where it was 10 years ago. The numbers are almost exactly what they were in 2008 (about 94%).

A few publishers are predicting a shift away from print and toward alternative revenue streams in 2015, digital media and events chief among them. And these things seem to hold long-term promise.

Launch rates for nonprint products are actually down this year, but companies are getting better at squeezing revenue out of the ones they have already. More than 85% of respondents say their nonprint products will bring in at least some money this year, says the report, a number that's steadily risen since 2010.

Print still pays the bills for city and regional publishers. Respondents say more than three-quarters of their revenue still comes from print advertising, and overall, it's stable. That 77.1% chunk is less than a percenage point away from the 5-year average.

There's a big gap between magazines that generate more than $5 million in revenue and their smaller counterparts, says the report. Large brands have been able to develop other streams of income, relying on ad pages for just 65% of their earnings in 2013, down a full 5% from where they were in 2011.

Smaller publishers have had a tougher time diversifying. They're still counting on print ad sales for more than 80% of their revenue. That figure has remained essentially unchanged over the last 4 years.

Publishers Source of Revenue

The revenue mix could change soon. Smaller magazines, in particular, expect print ad revenue to make up a slightly smaller percentage of their overall earnings this year, projecting a 3-percent decrease. The amount isn't huge, but it's an important trend to watch for, observes the report.

Paid subscriptions, digital media and events are expected to grow in its place, with respondents from small publishers forecasting year-over-year increases of at least 15% for each segment.

Not surprisingly, says the report, large publications are also looking to digital media for growth. Respondents project revenue from digital platforms will jump 28% in 2014, bringing the overall slice of revenue to almost 9% of total earnings.

Evidence suggests that the new digital business could be coming from better monetization strategies rather than the launch of more products. In fact, fewer digital products will likely enter the market this year than in any of the previous 5 years. The 59% of companies planning to stand pat with their current nonprint portfolio is actually rising.

Concluding, the report says that more companies are expecting to generate revenue from nonprint products than ever before. Nearly 70% of respondents say they'll generate at least some money from their nonprint efforts, up from less than 60% in 2010. | ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FROM FOLIO

© 2014 MediaPost Communications

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MPA Axes Ad Pages, Bows Media 360 Report

Magazine Media 360It's no secret that digital media is growing by leaps and bounds, while print media is not. Of course, many traditional media companies are investing heavily in new channels and establishing a substantial digital presence – but industry benchmark reports have typically lagged behind, tending to focus on legacy measures while omitting the new platforms.

The MPA – The Association of Magazine Media – is moving to address this imbalance with a new monthly report that is intended to provide a more rounded picture of the magazine industry by tracking publishers' digital efforts as well as their print properties.

The new report, called "Magazine Media 360," follows 147 magazine brands from 30 publishers, drawing on data from research outfits including GfK MRI, Ipsos, comScore, Nielsen Online and SocialFlow to measure consumer demand for a broad range of products, including print and digital editions, websites and video.

Separately, the MPA will also begin measuring magazines' followings on five major social media networks, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+.

The first Magazine Media 360 report shows that the gross audience for U.S. magazine media across all channels increased 10% from 1.341 billion in August 2013 to 1.475 billion in August 2013.

Turning to specific channels, the total audience for print and digital editions increased 2.1% from 993 million to 1.014 billion, while mobile web traffic soared 98% from 118 million to 234 million. Web traffic from laptops and desktops slipped 4.6% from 215 million to 205 million.

MPA President and CEO Mary Berner explained that "given the success of many magazine brands on those new platforms, continuing to rely on print circulation and ad paging counts in isolation to determine demand for magazine media would be like measuring the viewership of the Super Bowl exclusively based on the people who watched it in the stadium."

The MPA stopped reporting ad pages – as measured by the Publishers Information Bureau (PIB) – after the first quarter of this year – hardly a surprising decision, considering that the PIB reports had become something of a regular drumbeat of decline in recent years. Total ad pages among magazines tracked by PIB tumbled from 243,305 in 2005 to 145,713 in 2013, for a 40% drop in under a decade. As print magazines' fortunes started to slip, the MPA shifted from regular monthly reports on ad pages to quarterly reports back in 2007.

However, the awkward truth remains that the legacy print business still makes up the bulk of magazine revenues, judging by bellwethers like Time Inc. In its second-quarter results, the nation's largest publisher reported total digital ad revenues of $74 million, or 16% of total ad revenues of $461 million. In short, continuing print revenue declines likely foreshadow continuing contraction across the magazine publishing business, with more personnel cuts, closures, and divestments to come.

To be fair, the MPA isn't alone in trying to shift the spotlight away from less-than-stellar print numbers. Earlier this year, the Newspaper Association of America revealed that it would no longer be releasing quarterly data on newspaper advertising and circulation revenues, following almost a decade of unrelenting losses. From now on, the NAA will only report figures on an annual basis.

© 2014 MediaPost Communications

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Events Calendar

Events CalendarClickZ Live Chicago
November 3 – 6, 2014
Chicago, IL

PNAWAN – SACP Joint Conference
November 6 – 7, 2014
Spokane, WA

Local Media Digital Agency Summit
November 11 – 12, 2014
Chicago, IL

4th FIPP Asia-Pacific Digital Magazine Media Conference
November 11 – 12, 2014
Beijing, China

Audience 2.0
November 13, 2014
New York, NY

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

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Younger Affluent Audiences Open To Native Ads, Report Finds

AffluenceMartini Media on Monday issued the inaugural edition of "The Martini Report," the first edition of which does a deep dive on the "affluent audience online." The research was released in conjunction with media research firm Ipsos MediaCT.

The report breaks down the "elite" into four categories: the hyper affluent (household income of at least $250,000), the mass affluent ($100,000 - $249,999), the emerging affluent (aged 18-39 with $75,000 - $99,999 household income) and the aspiring affluent (ages 40+ with $75,000 - $99,999 household income).

The hyper affluent represent 3% of the U.S. population, per the report, and have a median age of 48. The mass affluent represent nearly 25% of the U.S. adult population and have a median age of 45. Martini calls the mass affluent "a crucial target for mainstream and luxury marketers alike." Emerging affluents represent about 6% of the U.S. population, while the aspiring represent 8%.

The study was conducted online by Ipsos in June 2014, per a release. There were 870 adult respondents with a household income of $75,000+, and the company says the data was weighted to reflect U.S. Census figures.

Over 40% of respondents said they "pay more attention to online ads that appear on sites with a good reputation," reinforcing the idea that the future of programmatic may be private.

The ads may not need to appear alongside reputable content to draw attention; however, if the ad itself is relevant content, the majority of the audience – the younger audience, at least – will pay attention. Martini singles out the "emerging affluents" as most open to native advertising, with two-thirds reporting that they don't care whether an article was written by a publisher or an advertiser if the content is relevant to them.

The company plans to release "The Martini Report" quarterly. The first edition features auto intenders – noting that digital ads and the Internet are growing in importance as it relates to influencing automobile purchases – and Martini writes in a release that "future volumes will explore travel, financial services, retail and luxury goods."

© 2014 MediaPost Communications


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Tips & Techniques: Enhanced Audit

What is an Enhanced Audit?
An Enhanced Audit combines a traditional audit report with the publication's digital products and social media, providing advertisers with an aggregated Audience Reach for the audit period.

What is Audience Reach?
The Average Audience Reach is a combination of average qualified circulation, newsletter averages (based on frequency), monthly website visitors and the total social media followers at the end of the audit period. An Average Audience Reach provides advertisers insight into the overall reach the publication has through multiple print and digital products.

Auditing vs. Reporting
Enhanced Audits feature audited and unaudited or reported data. The first portion of the Enhanced Audit Report features a traditional circulation audit, in which auditors examine circulation data for a print and/or digital publication through subscriber analysis, distribution methods and record retention for a stated audit period (annual or biannual). The traditional circulation audit also features emphasis on a single issue within that audit period. Averages are based upon established frequencies reported during the auditing process.

The second portion of the Enhanced Audit is a detailed examination of digital products. This Digital Activity Report features data from the publisher's internal database or third-party vendors that have been reviewed by the auditor. Digital products reviewed by the auditor can range from eNewsletter reports, iPad/iPhone app downloads or total social media followers obtained on the last day of the audit period. Since much of the user/audience data from third parties (Facebook, Apple, Twitter, etc.) is proprietary, this data can only be reported and cannot be considered "qualified" circulation. Averages are based upon delivery or established frequencies.

Publishers must provide a signed Affidavit of Accuracy before the Enhanced Audit Report is issued. Enhanced Audit Reports are limited to one time a year and cannot include Publisher Statement data.

Circulation Audit
Audits are an essential tool for publishers to prove to advertisers that their circulation data is accurate. Publishers provide distribution and subscriber records to auditors for the established audit period, who in turn review printing and distribution documents for both the print and digital edition, and perform an Nth select of qualified recipients in which subscriber records are closely examined. Publishers must be able to provide proof of request, subscription payment, and/or qualified Association/Directory source. Additionally, a field verification survey, phone survey or mail survey may be required for the audit to be completed. For more information about the audit process, see the Verified Audit Circulation Information & Resources Guide.

Digital Activity Report
A Digital Activity Report features data from a publisher's digital products (eNewslettters, mobile apps, website analytics, etc.) that have been provided by the publisher and reviewed by an independent auditor and is fairly stated in the report. Data within a Digital Activity Report is reported and has not been audited (with the exception of an eNewsletter audit, if performed).

eNewsletters can be reported or audited. Audited eNewsletters require an analysis of the eNewsletter subscriber database – Nth samples will be selected and the proof of request must be provided. Reported eNewsletters require delivery records and that the source of recipient emails/names are not older than 5 years.

All eNewsletters must be delivered during the established audit period. Auditors must be provided delivery reports or SMTP logs that provide the number of "sends" and "delivered." Bounce reports for digital delivery may be requested at the auditor's discretion. Publishers have 90 days to either correct or remove bounces. If an eNewsletter audit is being performed, the eNewsletter subscriber list must be provided and an Nth select will be performed.

Mobile Apps
Mobile Applications (Apps) must share the same name and editorial content of the print/digital publication. Mobile apps for games or special editions of the publication cannot be included in the Enhanced Audit. Publishers must be able to provide digital download totals for each month within the audit period, access to third-party vendor reports and proof of payment if the app is paid. If publishers are able to provide additional data, such as subscriber email addresses, "open" data or operating system data, these figures can be included in the Digital Activity Report at the publisher's request.

Social Media
Verified does not audit social media data since data within social media platforms is proprietary. Publishers can report the total number of followers/contacts as of the last day of the audit period. Social media data is gathered on the final day of the audit period by auditors and added to the averages to create an aggregated "average" Audience Reach on the front page of the Enhanced Report. If additional data can be gathered about the publication's social media followers/contacts, this data will be included in the inside pages of the report.

Website Analytics
Publishers can choose to have their website audited by Verified or can report third-party traffic analytics (Google Analytics, Ominiture, etc.). Average visitors/users are calculated by dividing the total for the audit period by the number of months within the audit period.

Other Digital Products
Webinars, white papers and other digital media can be included in an Enhanced Audit. Auditors must approve each third-party vendor or internal methods of distribution before incorporating the data into the audit report.

Enhanced Audit Report Required Documents:

  • Subscriber database for the analyzed issue
  • Audit Workbook or Completed QPDs
  • Digital Edition summary reports or SMPT logs
  • Digital Edition Notifications
  • Printer Invoices and proof of payment
  • Route Sheets and/or bulk distribution location
  • Mailing Statements and proof of payment
  • eNewsletter summary reports
  • Webinar summary reports (registrants and attendees)
  • Google Analytics username and password or website analytic reports from an approved third party
  • Social Media username and login (must be provided before end of audit period; data gathered on last day of audit period by 5 p.m. PST)
  • Report images (magazine, eNewsletter, iPad, webinars)

If you have questions regarding Enhanced Audit Reports, please contact Verified at 415-460-6006.


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2014 Verified Audit Circulation