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Retail Sales (Limited Sale or Return) - ROI ABC Bulk Distribution

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Definition

A copy sold to a retailer, on a limited sale or return basis, intended for resale as a single copy to a consumer.

Principles

  1. Single copy made available for purchase by the consumer from the retailer

  2. Copies are purchased from the publisher by the retailer, on a limited sale or return basis, either direct or via the distribution chain (typically distributor and/or wholesaler)

  3. Cover price must be published on or inside front or back cover of the publication

  4. The price paid for the publication by the consumer must be clear and conspicuous

  5. There must be an incentive for unsold copies/net sale (to the limit) to be reported to the publisher

  6. If the final net sale and/or rate classification are not known then estimates must be made 

  7. Reported by rate, comparing price paid by the consumer with the Basic Cover Price

 

Requirements | Reporting | Guidance


Requirements 

1. Single copy made available for purchase by the consumer from the retailer

  1. The purchase by the consumer may be in cash or by other means agreed by ABC in writing. 

  2. Back issues up to 12 months old can be claimed against the issue current at the time of sale.

Guidance available

2. Copies are purchased from the publisher by the retailer, on a limited sale or return basis, either direct or via the distribution chain (typically distributor and/or wholesaler) 

  1. ‘Limited Sale or Return’ means unsold copies are returned or reported for credit up to a limit contractually agreed with the retailer. The copies claimed will therefore be the net sale (copies supplied less credited copies).

  2. You must account for net sales on an issue by issue basis.

Guidance available

3. Cover price must be published on or inside front or back cover of the publication

No additional requirements

4. The price paid for the publication by the consumer must be clear and conspicuous

  1. If a voucher is used the amount paid by the consumer is deemed to be the total of the cash paid to the retailer and any cash they paid for the voucher.

  2. The value (or perceived value) of gifts or cover mounts to the consumer have no effect on the price paid for ABC purposes. However cash reimbursements to the consumer must be taken into account (excluding limited low chance lottery style promotions).   

  3. You must retain details of promotional or special offers during the reporting period.

Guidance available

5. There must be an incentive for unsold copies/net sale (to the limit) to be reported to the publisher 

No additional requirements

6. If the final net sale and/or rate classification are not known then estimates must be made

  1. If at the time you submit your circulation claim:

    1. Unsold copies could still be returned or reported, you must make an estimate of final sales, taking into account the agreed returns limits with retailers.
    2. You are running a promotional scheme where the final position (e.g. the number of discounted sales via redeemed vouchers) is not known you must make an estimate of the final net sale and classification.

      You must adjust your claim in the following period to reflect any difference between the estimated net sale and classification and the actual net sale and classification. 

  2. In relation to promotional schemes utilising voucher redemption: If you are reporting on a monthly basis and the effect of not making an estimate is judged to be unlikely to affect the figures claimed by more than 2% of the total average circulation then you can account for the vouchers on a wash through basis (i.e. as they are redeemed).

Guidance available

7. Reported by rate, comparing price paid by the consumer with the Basic Cover Price 

  1. Sales by retailers will be treated as sales at the cover price unless there is evidence to the contrary.

 


Reporting

You will report retail sales as follows, which will be broken out on the ABC Certificate: 

  1. By geographical type:
    1. United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland as on figure.

  2. By rate band:

    1. At Basic Cover Price
    2. Below Basic Cover Price

  3. By total average retail sales over the period.

  4. By total retail sales (combined with single copy sales) for the selected normal issue. 

 


Guidance

G1. Single copy made available for purchase by the consumer from the retailer

  1. Cash means legal tender notes and coins, cheque, credit/debit card, wireless payment systems.

  2. This doesn’t preclude a retailer selling more than one copy to a single purchaser (without the publisher’s knowledge). 

G2. Copies are purchased from the publisher by the retailer, on a limited sale or return basis, either direct or via the distribution chain (typically distributor and/or wholesaler)

  1. You will need to ensure all records required to support the retail sale claim are available for audit. This will include: 

    1. Full details of the exact numbers claimed as unsold or returned copies (including undelivered, lost or stolen copies) for every issue in the audit period.

    2. Full issue by issue details of all financial records and contracts with distributors, wholesalers and retailers, with specific regard to normal and recognised trade terms and the agreed limited returns. These must be reconcilable to the distribution and returns records on an issue specific basis and to the average net retail sales claim.

    3. Details of any change in trading terms from firm sale (if allowed) to sale or return (either temporarily or permanently) or vice versa.

    4. Details of discounts, special offers or restrictions on the return of unsold or undelivered copies.

  2. Copies reported using a pay on scan system may be reported in this category. You will need to ensure appropriate records of sales are available for audit. 

G3. Cover price must be published on or inside front or back cover of the publication

No further guidance available.

G4. The price paid for the publication by the consumer must be clear and conspicuous

  1. As the price paid may be affected by promotional schemes you should keep details of purchases and promotional spends so you can demonstrate copies are purchased and that sales under incentives/offers are classified correctly, or disallowed as necessary. You can contact ABC for confidential advice, supplying copies of the promotional material and offer wording. The information kept may include:

    • Title/s involved
    • Issues involved
    • Duration of promotion
    • Retail outlets involved
    • Wording of the promotion displayed at the retail outlet/s
    • How the resultant copies are claimed
    • How the promotion will be paid for

  2. Treatment of bundle/package promotions 

    1. As each case can vary we recommend you contact us for advice before carrying out your promotion.

    2. How the price of the publication is presented to the consumer will affect how or whether the copy may be claimed for ABC purposes.

      • If the price of the publication appears in the promotional material and it is legible (taking into account its presentation and prominence (including the size of the font used) and assuming a reasonable speed of reading) then the price is likely to be considered clear and conspicuous. 

        • Stating the publication’s price in relation to the promotion/bundle in the main wording of the offer will provide most clarity. 

        • The further away from the main offer wording and/or less prominent in the promotion the price of the publication becomes, the more likely it will not be considered clear and conspicuous. 

        • If the price of the publication is linked to the main offer wording with, say, an asterisk - this would make it more conspicuous.

      • Merely stating the price of the publication without reference to the bundle/package could just be a statement about the normal price of the publication and so will not necessarily render the price clear and conspicuous.

      • If there is conflicting information about the price, then the lowest price assessment would be taken for ABC purposes (which might mean it is free).

      • The absence of a clear and conspicuous price would render the copies as free, as would explicit wording stating the publication is free.

        1. Promotion “Buy the publication and a bottle of water for €x”. The price of the publication is not clear and conspicuous. 

        2. Promotion “Buy the publication and a bottle of water for €x” which is accompanied by the statement “The price of the publication in this promotion is €y”. The price of the publication is likely to be considered clear and conspicuous if the accompanying statement is either within the main body of the promotion, or is in a footnote that is asterisked to the main body and is legible. 

        3. Promotion “Buy the publication and bottle of water for €x.” Elsewhere in promotion “Publication is €y Monday to Friday and €z on Saturdays”. The price of the publication is not in the promotion and is unlikely to be considered clear and conspicuous as this statement appears to be the normal price of the publication.

        4. Promotion: If a publication ‘ABC News’ is promoted as ‘Buy ABC News for €x and get a free bottle of water’ then the bottle of water is treated as a free gift and it is clear the price paid is solely for the purchase of the publication.

        5. Promotion: If the promotion is ‘Buy a bottle of water and get a free copy of ABC News’ then the publication will be treated as free for ABC purposes.

  3. Per section 4b: “The discount or cash reimbursement must be taken into account. Examples:

        1. Promotion: “Buy publication and spend €5 and you get €1 off your publication”. The publication is discounted by €1.

        2. Promotion: “Buy publication, spend €5 and get €1 off your shopping basket”. The publication is discounted as it is part of the shopping basket, but it is difficult to determine how much it is discounted and will be considered on a case by case basis. In this example, using the minimum spend requirement of the offer gives a 20% discount and would seem a reasonable treatment.

        3. Promotion: “Buy publication and get €1 off a jar of coffee”. Or “Buy publication and get the money off the rest of your shopping”. The publication is full price, provided that the publication is sold at full price and the reimbursement does not exceed the cost of the items being discounted. 

G5. There must be an incentive for unsold copies/net sale (to the limit) to be reported to the publisher

No further guidance available.

G6. If the final net sale and/or rate classification are not known then estimates must be made

  1. Estimates of final sale

    An assessment of likely sales should be based on current and historic information such as:

    • Current levels of sales and unsold copies
    • Historic data and seasonal trends
    • Promotional activity
    • Print orders
    • Competitor activity
    • Information from sales force

      Particular attention should be given to periods of promotion, re-launch and to non-ROI circulation in general in order to arrive at a fair and reasonable representation of the net circulation. You should record the calculations and assumptions used to arrive at the estimated net sale.

  2. All unsold copies must be accounted for. This means that all estimates of net sale must be reviewed in the next audit period to establish their accuracy and that claim adjusted to account for any over or under estimate from the previous period. This must be done for each relevant geographical area reported (Note: If the difference for a period is found to be material following an ABC audit or inspection, ABC may amend the Certificate for the period to which the estimate relates).

  3. In relation to promotional schemes utilising voucher redemption a wash through basis means vouchers are accounted for as they are redeemed. The specific point at which they are treated as redeemed is not prescribed but you should use a reasonable and consistent basis.

 G7. Reported by rate, comparing price paid by the consumer with the Basic Cover Price

No additional guidance.