BPA Makes Rule Changes
Recently, BPA has seen an increase in merged publications. It is not uncommon that the circulation of the surviving publication increases by more than 10% from the previous audit issue. This is creating a hardship as the publisher is not in a position to report actual figures on the interim issue from each of the merged publications.
The board voted to give media owners the option of reporting actual figures, post merger, when the increase is 10% or greater or omitting those paragraphs for the interim issue, with the omission due to the merger disclosed through a footnote on the statement.
Renew until forbid. The current BPA rules provide guidance for reporting “renew until forbid” subscriptions. In such a program, the subscriber provides a credit card and billing information with the initial order and gives permission to the publisher to renew the subscription, using the same credit card, until the subscriber forbids. Renew until forbid subscriptions are typically sold using a one-year term/interval. Some publishers are now charging subscribers on a monthly basis and this is creating a challenge for reporting paragraph B5/C3a, Total New and Renewed Qualified Paid Subscriptions Order/Sold for the Period.
For those cases in which publishers sell evergreen renew until forbid subscriptions without any renewal notification of a fixed term, the board voted to create a new category, “perpetual subscriptions,” in paragraph B3a/C5. Those publishers selling renew until forbid subscriptions with an annual “bridge letter” renewing the subscription may continue to report by term.
International arrears. A media owner recently expressed concern about the amount of time the BPA rules allow for arrears when a subscription is sold to a subscriber outside the country of the magazine or publication. The media owner noted there are many time and logistical challenges when dealing with subscribers outside their country and BPA’s current arrears rule of three months does not provide enough time to effectively market the renewal.