Regional Publication (Bullivant Media Ltd)
Published date: 17 November 2015
The mastheads for the Worcester Observer and Malvern Observer both carry the circulation figure for the Worcester Observer Series, giving the misleading impression that each product delivers the combined circulation of the two editions. The figure on the masthead for the Evesham Observer is not the same as that certified by ABC.
Complainant: Newsquest Media (Southern) Ltd
Upheld. The ABC certificate reports the edition circulations as 31,984 for the Worcester Observer and 16,378 for the Malvern Observer, giving a combined circulation for the series of 48,362 (Jan - June 2015). Bullivant Media responded that the series figure is quoted because advertising is sold as a combined package in the first instance. ABC concluded the way the combined circulation was presented on each masthead is misleading. The publisher is required to either remove or amend the statement so it is clear what the circulation of the edition is (this could be accompanied by the series figure for transparency). The ABC certificate reports the circulation of the Evesham Observer as 11,548, being part of the Evesham Observer series which has a circulation of 15,387 (Jan - June 2015). Bullivant Media responded that the figure of 29,299 was quoted because it is the combined circulation of the Evesham Observer's and Stratford upon Avon Observer?s ABC circulations and they are also sold as a package in the first instance. ABC concluded that whilst it is acceptable to combine the circulations of two or more ABC titles, it does need to be clear what is being quoted. In this case it was not and the complaint this was misleading is upheld. The publisher is required to either remove or amend the statement so it is clear what is being quoted.