New community newspaper service approved

ABC Board gives the new service the nod and elects Sunni Boot as chair of its Canadian Board Committee.

The Board of the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) has just given its initial nod to launch a new ABC Community Newspaper Audit service, one that it says will lower publisher costs and simplify the audit process. Final approval, expected in November, would see the service made available to the country’s under-25,000 paid circ newspapers as of Jan. 1 next year.

At its meeting last week, the ABC Board also agreed to freeze audit fees for 2010, the third year in a row fees have been held in place. Following a cost-containment program for most of its newspapers and magazines, announced last year the ABC also introduced Audit Fast Track, a new digital audit initiative said to make ABC audit process less intrusive and more efficient.

The ABC’s Magazine Committe also discussed scan-based trading and the implications it presents for auditing and reporting retail newsstand sales. Key areas like the lack of per-issue data available from many scan-based systems and how to account for the ‘shrink’ were also discussed by the committee’s publisher and media buyer advisory committees earlier this year.

‘In today’s marketplace, many regional and national companies are advertising in community newspapers to improve reach and coverage in local markets no longer being served by metropolitan newspapers,’ ABC board chairman and J.C. Penney Co. director of media services said in a recent release. ‘Having important, ZIP-code-level information from these newspapers included in ABC’s integrated database is essential for advertisers that want to build the most effective media plans.’

The ABC Canada Board Committee also recently elected ZenithOptimedia Canada president and CEO Sunni Boot as its new chair. President and CEO of Canwest publishing Dennis Skulsky will serve as vice chair and Joan Brehl, ABC Canada’s new VP/GM, brand leadership and innovation, officially begins her duties next Tuesday.