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Single Copy Subscription Sales - Regional Publications

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Definition

A single copy sold and distributed to an individual or organisation for a contracted period.

Principles

  1. There must be a contractual arrangement between the subscriber and the publisher (or their agent)

  2. Single copy per issue, distributed to a known addressee

  3. Single copy knowingly paid for by the subscriber

  4. For a contracted period and for a minimum number of issues (at least two)

  5. Standard subscription rates must be published

  6. Reported by rate, comparing price paid by subscriber with standard rate

  7. The price paid for the publication by the subscriber must be clear and conspicuous

 

Requirements | Reporting | Guidance


Requirements 

1. There must be a contractual arrangement between the subscriber and the publisher (or their agent)

  1. You must be able to provide evidence of the contractual arrangements between the subscriber and the publisher (or their agent) including the issues/period and the price.

  2. If you merge publications or purchase a subscription list from a ceased publication it must be clear that subscribers have made a choice to receive the publication claimed.

Guidance available

2. Single copy per issue, distributed to a known addressee 

  1. You must retain a list of individual recipients for one designated issue each reporting period (the Audit Issue - see General Principles and Record Keeping section). In addition you must be able to recreate a list for any issue in the reporting period on request.

  2. You must be able to demonstrate the copy is distributed to the addressee. 

Guidance available

3. Single copy knowingly paid for by the subscriber 

  1. The subscriber must be the addressee except:

    1. Where the addressee is an employee whose employer is the subscriber.

    2. Where the addressee is the recipient of a gift subscription from the subscriber (maximum 12 subscriptions per subscriber).

  2. The purchase by the subscriber may be in cash or by other means agreed by ABC in writing.

  3. You can claim copies where payment is outstanding as long as there are reasonable grounds to consider them to be live, good and collectable.

Guidance available

4. For a contracted period and for a minimum number of issues (at least two)

  1. Back issues up to 12 months old supplied as part of a subscription agreement can be claimed against the issue current at the time of sale. 

Guidance available

 


Reporting

 

 


Guidance

G1. There must be a contractual arrangement between the subscriber and the publisher (or their agent).

  1. If you merge publications or purchase a subscription list from a ceased publication it must be clear that subscribers have made a choice to receive the claimed publication. Examples of how this may be achieved are shown below.

    1. Merger. If you merge publications where there are live subscriptions:

      • Subscribers to one publication only
        • You may continue to fulfil the contractual requirement of the subscription by mailing copies of the ‘new’ publication until the expiry of the subscription period.

      • Subscribers to both publications
        • You may refund the unexpired portion of one subscription and continue mailing copies until the remaining subscription expires; OR
        • You may net the value of the unfulfilled subscriptions and allocate copies on an issue by issue basis until the value has been subsumed.

    2. Purchase or transfer of subscription lists from a ceased publication

      • If you purchase or transfer a list of subscribers from a ceased publication, you could claim these as subscriptions if you could demonstrate:
        • The amount each subscriber is 'in credit' in terms of the payments for their subscription to the ceased publication.
        • How the credit is applied to the subscription to the claimed publication.
        • The subscriber has either:
          1. Elected to continue his subscription to the claimed publication; or
          2. Has been given the option to discontinue his subscription to the ceased publication and obtain a refund.

  2. As records for two or three year subscriptions may need to be provided for audit you must ensure these are still available. You may wish to ask us to seal the galley (mailing list) at audit where this might prove difficult going forward.

G2. Single copy per issue, distributed to a known addressee

  1. Distribution evidence: This will usually be from a third party company whose normal business is single copy distribution (such as Royal Mail). Typically the evidence will include testing the payment of invoices and related advice notes sufficient to identify the publication, issue, quantities and date distributed.  

G3. Single copy knowingly paid for by the subscriber

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

  2. Where payment is outstanding you may take into account the following in considering whether there are reasonable grounds to consider the debt to be live, good and collectable:

    1. Publisher's normal credit terms

    2. Payment history

    3. Credit control efforts

G4. For a contracted period and for a minimum number of issues (at least two)

  1. The contracted period may be a rolling issue by issue (or open ended) arrangement providing the contractual arrangements clearly intend there to be an on-going payment mandate and the sale is not promoted as a single copy purchase.

G5. Standard subscription rates must be published

  1. Published does not mean necessarily published in the publication but published so that they are publicly available.

G6. Reported by rate, comparing price paid by subscriber with standard rate

  1. [Requirement 6b showing examples ] If a subscription promotion includes a gift or product that is being claimed for ABC purposes (for example a bundled copy of a publication or access to a paid website) then the price paid must be allocated according to the following, moving down the list until one can be applied:

    1. According to the specific terms of the offer. For example: Buy X magazine get Y free means Y will be treated as free.
    2. Where specific terms are not clear, by pro-rating the price according to the relative prices of the ABC claimed products. For example where the promotion is ‘Buy a subscription to X and Y for £50’ and X and Y have Basic Annual Subscription rates of £40 and £50 respectively then the £50 paid will be pro-rated in the ratio 40:50.

    3. Where the specific terms are not clear and in the absence of a means of pro-rating the price paid, it should be divided equally between the number of ABC claimed products included in the sale.

    4. Further Examples of Subscription Promotions:
    5. What’s in the subscription promotion?

      How is it promoted?

      Can it be claimed?

      How is it claimed?

      Criteria applied

      Publication A + Handbag

      Subscribe today and receive a free handbag

      Yes

      At price paid (handbag ignored as not ABC claimed)

      i

      Publication + Handbag

      Buy handbag and receive free subscription to Publication A

      Not as paid

      Publication is free (could be claimed as free if appropriate criteria met).

      i

      Publication A + Marks & Spencer Vouchers

      Subscribe for 3 months and receive vouchers for Marks & Spencer

      Yes

      At price paid (vouchers ignored as not ABC claimed)

      i

      Publication A and Publication B (both ABC claimed)

      Subscribe to Publication A and receive Publication B free

      Publication A Yes.

      Publication B Not as paid

      Publication A at price paid (Publication B treated as free as promoted as free)

      i

      Publication A and Publication B (both ABC claimed: Publication A sub normally £80 and Publication B sub normally £40)

      Subscribe to both Publication A and Publication B for £100

      Yes, both.

      £100 pro-rated = £67 Publication A and £33 Publication B

      ii

      Publication A and Publication B (both ABC claimed: Publication A sub normally £80 and Publication B sub normally £40) + Handbag

      Subscribe to both Publication A and Publication B for £100 and receive a handbag worth £50

      Yes, both.

      £100 pro-rated = £67 Publication A and £33 Publication B (handbag ignored as not ABC claimed)

      ii

      Publication A and Website access (both ABC claimed: Publication A sub normally £100 but Website access is only available as a package with the Publication)

      Subscribe to Publication A and receive website access – all for £100

      Yes, both

      £100 divided equally £50 for Publication A and £50 for website access (website access is not available either free or paid so no price can be identified to pro-rate).

      iii

      Publication A + Digital Edition (not ABC claimed)

      Subscribe to Publication A for £100 and receive the Digital Edition worth £80

      Yes

      Publication A at £100 (Digital Edition ignored as not claimed)

      i

      Publication A + Digital Edition (both ABC claimed: Publication A sub normally £100 and Digital Edition sub normally £50)

      Subscribe to Publication A and the Digital Edition for £120 (normally £150).

      Yes, both

      £120 pro-rated = Publication A at £80 and Digital Edition at £40

      ii

  2. Examples of promotional offers that would result in copies being claimed at a discounted rate:

    1. 'Save 25% on your subscription'

    2. '2 years subscription for the price of one'

    3. '18 issues for the price of 12'

    4. 'Buy 12 issues get 6 free' (note: All 18 issues can be claimed as paid, with the price paid being allocated equally across them).

 G7. The price paid for the publication by the subscriber must be clear and conspicuous

No additional guidance.