Tuesday, 29 July 2008

ABC = Y?

Updated 07/30/08 re Globe and Mail story
The Toronto Sun has quickly responded to the ABC sanction announced today, accusing the circulation audit service of being "inconsistent."

"ABC is being inconsistent with the application of its own rules and is being adversarial and punitive towards the Toronto Sun," Kin-Man Lee, Sun publisher and CEO, says in a Marketwire press release. "We have always and we continue to apply the most rigorous standards to our circulation reporting.

"ABC is treating industry-standard programs in 2007 differently than when they approved the very same programs through their audits in both 2005 and 2006. Some of these programs have been successfully audited and approved by ABC since 1999.

"In all the time that we were a member of ABC, our circulation reports have always accurately reflected the newspapers that we've sold, printed and distributed. Nothing changed in 2007."

So does the Sun have circulation figures that dispute the ABC numbers quoted? The Sun press release doesn't say.

A Globe and Mail's story today quotes figures ABC says the Sun submitted for that period.

Grant Robertson's Globe story reads: "The Toronto Sun reported average daily circulation of 195,211 last fall, down from 197,449 a year earlier, the bureau said. The newspaper reported its Sunday circulation rose to 347,114, up from 341,247."

The Globe story says "ABC expects to reduce the Sun's average daily circulation by 21,004 copies, or 11 per cent. Average Saturday circulation will be downgraded by 18,191 copies, or 12 per cent, while average Sunday circulation will be downgraded by 49,869 copies, or 15 per cent."

Industry watchers say it is advertisers, not readers or employees, who are most interested in accurate numbers. That is what they use to maximize product exposure in allocating their annual advertising dollars.

The ABC sanction can't be boosting the confidence of advertisers.

The Sun stopped promoting its readership numbers in the Comment section masthead a couple of years ago. The tabloid was quick to provide the peaks in the Doug Creighton years, but not the valleys in the Quebecor years.

It would be refreshing to see the little paper that grew in leaps and bounds own up to any downturns, say this is what it is, and focus on bettering the product to turn those figures around.

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