Verified Audit CirculationViewPoint
August 2017

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This Month's Features:

Verified Would Like to Welcome...
Hurricane Harvey Update
Newspapers Highlight Role With Blank Pages
Events Calendar
Google Works on News Subs, Facebook Bows Publisher Logos
Global Marketers Improving Media Oversight: WFA Study Finds More Control, Transparency

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Verified Would Like to Welcome...

Digital VideoDigital Video
NewBay Media LLC
New York, NY
Digital Video is a B2B brand intended for individuals with broad-based interest in the video production industries.

Pro Sound News
Pro Sound NewsNewBay Media LLC
New York, NY
Pro Sound News is a B2B brand intended for individuals with broad-based interest in the professional audio industry.

Strauss Community Newspapers
Strauss Neighborhood Newspapers

Strauss News
Chester, NY
Straus NewsStrauss Community Newspapers deliver total market coverage of a contiguous market that spans Orange County, NY, Pike County, PA, and Sussex and Passaic Counties, NJ, with nine local newspapers. Strauss Neighborhood Newspapers deliver a hyperlocal, highly targeted audience.


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Hurricane Harvey Update

Hurricane Harvey UpdateVerified Audit Circulation is saddened by the loss of life and destruction of property in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. During this difficult time, we'd like to offer our sympathy and support to our clients.

Due to the hurricane, publishers may temporarily suspend distribution to:

• Subscribers living in areas where USPS delivery is not possible.
Subscription copies may be mailed at a later date and not be considered back issues.

• Subscribers living in areas where carrier delivery is not possible.
Subscription copies may be delivered at a later date and not be considered back issues.

• Locations (target/free carrier/racks/dealers) in areas where delivery is not possible.

• Issues affected by the hurricane may be omitted from annual average at the client's request.

Member publishers will be given the opportunity to provide explanation in their Audit Report and Publisher's Statement regarding the impact of the disaster on their circulation.

Additionally, clients affected by the disaster are permitted a three-month extension on all required reporting.

If you have questions regarding this update, please contact Verified at (415) 461-6006.


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Newspapers Highlight Role With Blank Pages

New Prague TimesNewspapers around the world have resorted to a dramatic form of nonstatement, the blank front page, to protest censorship and other threats to press freedom.

This week, more than 200 local newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota employed the same eye-catching tactic to highlight the importance of newspapers to their local communities.

The blank front page stunt was orchestrated by a local publishing trade organization, the Minnesota Newspaper Association, to commemorate its 150th anniversary. It comes amid mounting concern about the long-term financial viability of small local newspapers.

Many of the newspapers ran editorials explaining the meaning of the blank front pages and urging readers not to take the work that goes into reporting local news for granted. It also took a few swipes at the newspapers' powerful new rivals.

The Duluth News Tribune argued, "Imagine what it would be like without a newspaper keeping watch. Where would residents turn to for reliable information? Facebook? Twitter? Snapchat? Be serious. We all know those sites are great for sharing photos and family anecdotes, but they cannot compete with a local newspaper for sound professional journalism and advertising trustworthiness."

The newspapers also touted the advantages of their medium for advertisers, encouraging local businesses to align their brands with trusted, premium local news content. The Duluth News Tribune cited data from MarketingSherpa, based on a survey of 2,400 consumers, who named newspapers and magazines as the most trusted medium for gathering information when making a purchase decision, at 82% of respondents.

The News Tribune editorial closed with a powerful reminder: "If newspapers go away, who's going to expose possible corruption in City Hall or elsewhere? Who's going to alert residents about new taxes? Or explain confusing fiscal issues at the university? Or document public spending? Or follow the football team down the road? Facebook? While you contemplate our blank front page today, consider that."

While not often seen in the U.S., big newspapers worldwide have published blank front pages in protest against government repression and threats of violence from criminal gangs.

A number of Turkish newspapers have published blank front pages to protest government intimidation and the arrests of journalists.

© 2017 MediaPost Communications


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Events Calendar

Events CalendarLocalMedia Making a Business of Digital Services
October 3 – 5, 2017
Chicago, IL

National Newspaper Association 131st Annual Convention and Trade Show
October 5 – 7, 2017
Tulsa, OK

CRMA Fall Publisher's Roundtable
October 13 – 14, 2017
Philadelphia, PA

Publishing Insider Summit
October 15 – 18, 2017
Austin, TX

NAHP National Convention & Business Expo
Miami, FL
November 5 – 7, 2017


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Google Works on News Subs, Facebook Bows Publisher Logos

Google / FacebookThe war between the big technology platforms over the loyalties of publishers is escalating.

Google is working on an online news subscription service that will allow publishers to charge readers for content, rivaling a similar service already under development by Facebook. Facebook is trying to sweeten its own offerings with the addition of publisher logos, enabling more specific branding and audience development.

Google's news subscription service actually consists of three related elements, according to Bloomberg News, which first reported plans to develop the program. It is being tested with The New York Times and Financial Times with an eye to adding dozens more publishers and media companies, if successful.

One element is tightening its "first click free" feature, which gives readers arriving via search limited free access to articles from publications with paywalls. Publishers are making three articles per day free to nonsubscribers, but Google is working with the NYT to lower that number, putting more pressure on interested readers to subscribe.

Google is also testing online payments tools to enable publishers to conduct simple, streamlined transactions with subscribers, including via mobile payment.

Finally, Google is working to help publishers reach new audiences and target potential subscribers through a suite of new solutions, which will also help gauge willingness to subscribe and price sensitivity for potential subscribers.

So far, Google hasn't disclosed the potential revenue-sharing terms for its current collaborations with NYT and FT, or what might be on offer to future publisher partners.

The new offerings come amid growing concern among publishers that platform distribution isn't a financially viable long-term model. That's prompting big contenders, including Facebook, Google, Apple and Snap, to offer services purporting to give publishers more insight and control over their audiences, as well as a greater say in ad sales.

Last month, Facebook revealed plans for a digital subscription feature for news publishers, which will enable publishers to limit the number of articles Facebook users can see for free through their news feed, capping it at 10. After that, they would have to buy a subscription.

In addition, the system would allow publishers to direct traffic to their own websites, where they can sell subs directly. Authentication would then allow users to continue accessing content through their Facebook news feed. Users who have already subscribed elsewhere are grandfathered in.

Still vying for publishers' affections, Facebook announced it will begin featuring publisher logos next to articles in its Trending and Search features. It will allow users to more easily recognize reputable news sources, part of the ongoing fight against fake news and publishers of racial hatred and incitement.

© 2017 MediaPost Communications.


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Global Marketers Improving Media Oversight:
WFA Study Finds More Control, Transparency

ANAA new study from the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) based on a membership survey taken in May concludes that many big league marketers are taking last year's Transparency Report from the Association of National Advertisers to heart and making substantial efforts to improve stewardship of their media spending practices and relationships with agencies.

In the last 12 months, per the study, 35 multinational companies with combined annual marketing spend of more than $30 billion report taking wide-ranging actions in response to concerns that they need to do a better job of controlling and optimizing their media activity.

And it's not just transparency issues being addressed but also brand safety, viewability, ad fraud and issues related to media expenditures.

On transparency, 65% of respondents said they have improved their internal capabilities via moves such as hiring a head of programmatic. More than 70% indicated that they have amended their media agency contracts, and 58% have included terms that define agency status as agent or principle at law.

Nearly 40% said they have added or plan to add specific media/financial audit right clauses to contracts. And nearly half (47%) indicated that they have added or plan to add language to contracts calling for the return of incentives (i.e., rebates) from media vendors in exchange for doing business with them.

And many noted that they are increasing media training, adding data ownership clauses and taking greater control of programmatic ad efforts.

With respect to ad fraud, many are also taking actions recommended by the WFA, with 55% of respondents now limiting runs of exchange buys while 43% are shifting away from using CPM as their key metric in favor of business outcomes. And 40% are developing in-house resources to help tackle ad fraud. More than half (54%) said they are now working with third-party verification ad fraud partners, and another 11% said they have plans in the works to do so.

In addition, 26% say they have put in place contractual stipulations assigning liability for misallocation of spend on fraudulent inventory. Another 51% said they are planning to do that.

On the brand safety front, nearly half (49%) have adopted "whitelists" and "blacklists" of sites where advertising should or should not appear. And more than half (54%) say they have worked with third-party verification companies to monitor the environments where their ads are placed. And 68% say they have suspended or intend to suspend investment in ad networks that raise red flags on brand safety.

On viewability, 57% said they have begun to implement viewability tracking via third-party vendors, while 40% say they now invest only in inventory that meets minimum industry viewability standards.

Robert Dreblow, head of marketing services at the WFA, commented, "The WFA has long championed the need for clear and transparent relationships between brands and their agency partners. Last year's American Newspaper Associations report was a catalyst for a new wave of action by brands not just in the U.S. but around the world, addressing many of the media issues that our members have highlighted. These actions, coupled with an increasing number of WFA members sharing that they have witnessed improved transparency, are positive signs that we can create an improved media landscape for brands, agency partners and media owners."

© 2017 MediaPost Communications.

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