Tags: Time | Inc. | Subpoenaed | for | Questionable | Circulation | Reporting

Time Inc. Subpoenaed for Questionable Circulation Reporting

Friday, 23 September 2005 12:00 AM

Time magazine's parent company Time Inc. is under a federal investigation into questionable practices in assessing the paid circulation of some of its publications.

The company received a subpoena from the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of New York, which is reportedly probing circulation practices at a number of publishing companies.

At issue is "sponsored sales programs," which include "magazine subscriptions purchased by a sponsor for distribution either to public places, such as waiting rooms in doctors' offices, or to a targeted group of individuals selected based on the subject matter of the magazines," according to Time Inc. executive vice president Jack Haire.

Sponsored sales subscriptions may be counted as "paid" circulation only if the sponsor pays at least one cent per subscription, the trade publication Ad Age reports.

Time Inc. now plans to reclassify a number of those subscriptions from "paid" to "qualified."

Overstating the number of paid subscriptions can skew the "rate base" of a publication. The rate base is the amount of paid circulation that a magazine promises advertisers it will deliver and is used to set the magazine's ad rates.

In addition to Time magazine, the company's other publications include Fortune, Parenting, People, Sports Illustrated, In Style, and People en Espanol.

According to Ad Age, People en Espanol reported an average paid circulation of 462,000 during the first six months of the year, but 108,682 of those copies were from sponsored sales.

Company spokeswoman Dawn Bridges said the company "is cooperating fully with the investigation."

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Time magazine's parent company Time Inc. is under a federal investigation into questionable practices in assessing the paid circulation of some of its publications. The company received a subpoena from the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of New York,...
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2005-00-23
Friday, 23 September 2005 12:00 AM
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