25 Mar

Lessons For Magazine Publishers: Are Multiple Sales Real Sales

The Magazine And Newspaper ABC’s Reveal Bulks Are Back

Tough times for newspaper publisher are often followed by a little ABC’s finagling, are there lessons for magazine publishers?

The use of Bulk Sales went out of fashion a few years ago, there was a time when almost every retail outlet visited on a Sunday would offer you a free copy of the Sunday newspaper of your choice. Advertisers were unconvinced but, especially at News International, the practice is back in vogue.

News International Newspapers

Are bulk sales a valid marketing technique or simply a way of duping advertisers?

The ABC does have strict rules for the way that newspapers and magazines include discounted copies in their circulation numbers.  Copies are sold at a heavily discounted price to outlets such as airport lounges, railway stations and  hotels who will give them free of charge to their customers.  Publishers would argue that the copies are read by readers and therefore just as valuable to advertisers.

The Times lists over 21,000 bulk copies distributed per day, a not inconsiderable part of the circulation of the newspaper. Stablemate The Sun on the other hand does not use bulk sales and only includes full price paid for copies in its ABC.

News International now seems to be the only remaining newspaper publisher who is interested in bulk sales The Telegraph and The Guardian do not use them preferring to describe their ABC certificates as “clean”.

So the argument is between an increased circulation supported by heavily discounted copies and a clean paid for ABC certificate.

There are lessons for magazine publishers, even the many publishers who do not use an ABC certificate. Are there ways that you can connect readers with advertisers by offering discounts or free distribution.

This is an area that I help many of my clients to exploit…do drop me a line if you would like to explore bulk distribution to specialist outlets for your magazine.

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