Single Copy Subscription Sales [Print/Digital]
A single copy sold and distributed to an individual or organisation for a contracted period.
1. There must be a contractual arrangement between the subscriber and the publisher (or their agent)
You must be able to provide evidence of the contractual arrangements between the subscriber and the publisher (or their agent) including the issues/period and the price.
If you merge publications or purchase a subscription list from a ceased publication it must be clear that subscribers have made a choice to receive the publication claimed.
2. Single copy per issue, distributed to a known addressee
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.
- You must be able to demonstrate the copy is distributed to the addressee.
3. Single copy knowingly paid for by the subscriber
The subscriber must be the addressee except:
Where the addressee is an employee whose employer is the subscriber.
Where the addressee is the recipient of a gift subscription from the subscriber (maximum 12 gift subscriptions per subscriber).
The purchase by the subscriber may be in cash or by other means agreed by ABC in writing.
- You can claim copies where payment is outstanding as long as there are reasonable grounds to consider them to be live, good and collectable.
4. For a contracted period and for a minimum number of issues (at least two)
Back issues up to 12 months old supplied as part of a subscription agreement can be claimed against the issue current at the time of sale.
Note: If you’re claiming digital copies, please also refer to the additional requirements in the Digital Copies section.
You will report the following, which will be shown on the ABC Certificate:
1. Audit Issue total single copy subscriptions for UK and Other Countries
2. As an option, information on the prices paid for subscriptions and/or subscription package information
G1. There must be a contractual arrangement between the subscriber and the publisher (or their agent).
If you merge publications or purchase a subscription list from a ceased publication it must be clear that subscribers have made a choice to receive the claimed publication. Examples of how this may be achieved are shown below.
If you merge publications where there are live subscriptions:
Subscribers to one publication only
You may continue to fulfil the contractual requirement of the subscription by mailing copies of the ‘new’ publication until the expiry of the subscription period.
- Subscribers to both publications
- You may refund the unexpired portion of one subscription and continue mailing copies until the remaining subscription expires; OR
You may net the value of the unfulfilled subscriptions and allocate copies on an issue by issue basis until the value has been subsumed.
Purchase or transfer of subscription lists from a ceased publication
- If you purchase or transfer a list of subscribers from a ceased publication, you could claim these as subscriptions if you could demonstrate:
- The amount each subscriber is 'in credit' in terms of the payments for their subscription to the ceased publication.
- How the credit is applied to the subscription to the claimed publication.
- The subscriber has either:
- Elected to continue his subscription to the claimed publication; or
Has been given the option to discontinue his subscription to the ceased publication and obtain a refund.
b. As records for two or three year subscriptions may need to be provided for audit you must ensure these are still available. You may wish to ask us to seal the galley (mailing list) at audit where this might prove difficult going forward.
G2. Single copy per issue, distributed to a known addressee
- 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.
G3. Single copy knowingly paid for by the subscriber
Cash means legal tender notes and coins, cheque, credit/debit card, wireless payment systems.
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:
Examples of Subscription Promotions
|What's in the Subscription Promotion?||How is it Promoted?||Can it be Claimed?||How is it Claimed?|
|Publication A+ HandbagPublication||Subscribe today and receive a free handbag||Yes||At price paid (handbag ignored as not ABC claimed)|
|Publication + Handbag||Buy a handbag and receive free subscription to Publication ASubscribe to||Not as paid||Publication is free (could be claimed as free if appropriate criteria met)|
|Publication A + Marks & Spencer Vouchers||Subscribe for 3 months and receive vouchers for Marks and Spencer||Yes||Publication A at price paid (Publication B treated as free as promoted as free)|
|Publication A and B (both ABC claimed)||Subscribe to Publication A and receive Publication B free||Publication A yes, Publication B Not as paid||Paid|
|Publication A and B (both ABC claimed: Publication A sub normally £80 and publication B sub normally £40)||Subscribe to both Publication A and B for £100||Yes, both||Paid|
|Publication A and B (both ABC claimed: Publication A sub normally £80 and publication B sub noramlly £40) + handbag||Subscribe to both Publication A and B for £100 and receive a handbag worth £50||Yes, both||Paid|
|Publication A and Website access (both ABC claimed. Publication A sub normally £100 but Website access is only available as a package with the publication)||Subscribe to Publication A and receive website access - all for £100||Yes, both||Paid|
|Publication A + Digital Edition (not ABC claimed)||Subscribe to Publication A for £100 and receive the digital Edition with £80||Yes||Publication A Paid (Digital Edition ignored as not claimed)|
|Publication A + Digital Edition (both ABC claimed. Publication A sub normally £100 and Digital Edition sub normally £50)||Subscribe to Publication A and the Digital Edition for £120 (noramlly £150)||Publication A only||Paid|
Note: The following examples of promotional offers would result in all copies being claimed as paid:
'Save 25% on your subscription'
'18 issues for the price of 12'
'Buy 12 issues get 6 free' (note: All 18 issues can be claimed as paid, with the price paid being allocated equally accross them)