The Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) is slated to meet today. The ABC has been in the news for all the right reasons lately, with its recent formal announcement of its digital measurement service, which goes live from Q3 2016. This service is slated to fill an important gap for digital property owners by offering them precise audience metrics.
However, the reason for a meeting today is rumouredly, is a discussion on ‘variants’ - that is selling the same newspaper at two different price points with different number of pages and ads as well.
Interestingly the practice of variants started off in the old days, to inculcate the reading habit in students. Schools used to get school editions with less number of pages, cheaper papers, where ads were not carried.
Today’s scenario is of course completely different, publishers create two separate papers with the same mast-head in the same city, which could also lead to confusion.
One priced at Rs 4 and the other Rs 2. while one paper carries one set of ads, the other carries a different set.
Of late, players in the Hindi belt have been fighting with each other on circulation numbers, with public claims to be number 1 in the same market by two publications, followed by counter claims by both.
Thus rules made for the betterment of print are today being misused by few publications.
One of the points to be covered in the ABC meeting today is said to come to an optimum resolution of this issue for all stakeholders.
ABC today is even more important from a publishers perspective today, in light of IRS data now expected in January 2017.