Thursday, 11 June 2009

BPA Approves Reporting of Non-Requested Digital Circulation on Publisher Statements

At the recent Audience Development Conference in Chicago, BPA announced changes that may push the take up of digital subscriptions quickly. As noted in a June 8, 2009  article on Audience Development:

According to Glenn Schutz, manager, communications, BPA Worldwide, the Board approved "the reporting of non-requested electronic circ as non-qualified circulation with a paragraph 9 additional comment documenting the sources used."
Schutz added that the Board will also allow "publishers to convert their print customers to digital editions with the provisions that they notify the customers of the change and give them the ability to opt-out." 

While there continues to be debate over this issue, this ruling really only gives digital editions the same status as non-requested print circulation (and is already permitted by ABC).  During a time when many publishers are struggling with the increasing cost of print and distribution in the midst of an advertising recession, this ruling should help publishers move additional readers to digital.  By initially providing non-requested copies in digital this will allow publishers to serve new readers (and still count the circulation)  -- in hopes of encouraging readers to become qualified.  Several of our publishing clients are already being more aggressive in pushing out digital to readers who have requested print but are on controlled waiting lists for print subscriptions to become available.  We certainly don't get a sense that this ruling change will cause publishers to "spam" digital versions to anyone, but instead gives publishers an economic way to serve new and existing readers who they may not be able to serve with print quickly, if at all.