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Requested Sponsored Subscription Sales - Consumer Magazines

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 Definition

A single copy personally requested by and distributed to a known individual, but paid for by a third party sponsor for a contracted period.

 Principles

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

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

  3. Copies are paid for by the sponsor

  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 sponsor with standard rate

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

 

Requirements | Reporting | Guidance


 Requirements 

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

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

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

  1. You must be able to provide evidence the addressee has specifically requested the copies.

  2. 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.

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

Guidance available

 3. Copies are paid for by the sponsor 

  1. The sponsor, who is paying for the subscription, is a third party to the addressee, publisher (and their agent if applicable). For example: A bank may offer the subscription to its customers as part of a loyalty package. If the customer opts to receive the subscription then the bank contracts to pay the publisher.

  2. 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. You cannot claim back issues.

Guidance available

 5. Standard subscription rates must be published

  1. The 'Basic Annual Rate' (BAR) is the standard 1 year subscription rate for the publication, in contrast to a special price only available to a limited class, or under limited conditions.

  2. There can only be 1 BAR per country/wider geographical region.

Guidance available

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

  1. You must claim a subscription in the appropriate rate band by comparing the price paid for the subscription with the relevant Basic Annual Rate at the time of sale (pro-rate if less than 1 year). Note - ignore for ABC purposes:

    1. Bank charges or exchange rate differences

    2. The value (or perceived value) of any gifts, or other incentives (including bundled publications or media products that are not claimed for ABC purposes). 

    3. When calculating what price has been paid you must take into account:

      •  Any reciprocal payments made by the publisher.

      •  Any reciprocal charges for goods or services made by the sponsor as part of the deal (for example: for distribution or marketing).

      •  The value of any other goods or services provided free or discounted by the publisher (for example advertising or promotional messages).

  2. 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.

    2. Where specific terms are not clear, by pro-rating the price according to the relative prices of the ABC claimed products.

    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.

  3. You may treat subscription orders for more than one year as a sale at Basic Annual Rate if the published multi-year subscription rate when pro-rated to 1 year:

    1. Is at least 90% of the BAR for a two year subscription; or

    2. Is at least 85% of the BAR for a three year subscription.

  4. You may treat renewal or direct debit rates as full rate providing the amount paid is at least 90% of the BAR.

  5. If you do not publish a relevant BAR then those copies must be claimed in the lowest rate band.

  6. You must retain details of subscription rates and special offers during the reporting period

 Guidance available

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

No additional requirements.

 


 Reporting

You will report Requested Sponsored Subscription Sales as follows, which will be broken out on the ABC certificate (note: the term Full Rate will replace Basic Annual Rate for reporting purposes):

  1. By geographical type:

    1. United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland

    2. Other Countries

  2. By rate band:
    1. At Full Rate

    2. Below Full Rate but not less than 50%;

    3. Less than 50% of Full Rate 

  3. By total average Requested Sponsored Subscription Sales over the period

  4. A list of sponsors for all copies claimed in the Reporting Period

  5. The Basic Annual rate at the time of the last issue reported in the period for UK, ROI and Other Countries. If there is more than one Basic Annual Rate for Other Countries then you must report a range, from the lowest to the highest.

 


 Guidance

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

No additional guidance.

 G2. Single copy per issue, requested by and 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.  

  2. You must have third party evidence that the individual has made a clear request to receive the publication before you send it to them. The following provide guidance and examples of acceptable methods of achieving this:

    1. The requestor must have been asked and agreed, or they have stated, that they wish to receive a copy of the publication. Bear in mind you will need to be able to demonstrate this at audit. For example using a question such as ‘sign here to request a free copy of <publication name> or ‘Complete this form to continue receiving this publication’.

    2. There must be a clear separate request to receive the publication that is not combined with a request for another product or service. For example: This means if the requestor is being offered the opportunity to request two or more publications, or register for an exhibition at the same time as requesting the publication, it should be clear to them that they can separately request to receive the publication(or not)  with or without requesting or accepting  the other product/service. You may use separate questions or separate boxes to make it clear what the individual is requesting in this scenario. 

    3. For a written or faxed request, the evidence could be demonstrated as third party by requiring the requestor to sign and date the form/request.

    4. For a request made over the telephone, by email or online, the following gives guidance and examples of how details could be demonstrated as third party:

      • Asking the requestor to provide their name and the answer to ABC’s Personal Identifier Question (PIQ) - a memorable question set by ABC and changed each calendar year – details of the current PIQ can be found on the ABC website.

      • In the case of telephone requests, recording the telephone calls in a manner that can be made available for review at audit. If you would like our advice on whether a call recording system might be acceptable please contact us. Note: It remains your responsibility to comply with any legislation regarding the recording of telephone conversations.

      • It may help if a copy of the data captured via online or telephone campaigns is kept in its original state as once this data is entered or merged onto a main database the audit trail evidencing the collection of the data can be lost. You may also consider retaining invoices from external contractors evidencing the work carried out in this regard.

      • You are advised to retain copies of online forms/screenshots or telephone scripts to provide evidence of questions asked and responses recorded.

 G3. Copies are paid for by the sponsor

  1. 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 sponsor 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.

  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 sponsor must be clear and conspicuous

No additional guidance.