Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Public-Place Copies: Are They Worth the Effort?

Public-Place Copies: Are They Worth the Effort?
By Chandra Johnson-Greene

Mediaweek.com's Lucia Moses reported this week a survey (conducted by TNS for OMD) of doctor's offices and hair/beauty salons, which found that 52 percent of those locations disposed of titles they didn't want to receive, while only 32 percent reported that the free titles they get are a good fit.

While this survey casts some doubt over the relevance of public-place copies in the audience developer's tool box-especially as ABC board members meet this week to discuss the very subject of verified circulation-the news is not all bad.

Last year, a study commissioned by Time Inc. and Mediaedge:cia found that 19 percent of public-place readers have purchased or intended to purchase something advertised in a magazine and 15 percent said they had "followed up" on an ad from a public-place copy.

The study also found that public-place readers had more time to devote to just reading magazines, felt less guilty about taking the time to read them and multitasked at a lower rate while reading.

Advertisers have scrutinized the heavy use of verified copies since the category was created in 2006, stating that some titles (only about 12) are using the category too heavily, especially in the last few issues of a period, in order to meet average rate base.

Publishers, on the other hand, believe that verified copies have been proven to receive a higher level of engagement than other categories, which of course, would be beneficial to advertisers.

As previously reported here, ABC confirmed that the following changes to the verified category would be discussed in the meeting this week:

· Increasing the required number of consecutive issues served to make a subscription eligible for verified reporting

· Eliminating the ability to report back copies as verified

· Eliminating the ability to choose not to report on the statement some copies that were served, and would fall under "verified" if reported

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