How to File U.S. Newspaper Circulation Data

A step-by-step guide to filing your circulation data.

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Use the following step-by-step instruction guide to help you file circulation data. In turn, your newspaper's valuable print information will be accessible to the Media Intelligence Center's more than 5,000 active registered users, populated in numerous industry databases and sent directly to some of the country's leading advertisers and advertising agencies, totaling nearly five million contacts each year.

 

Download these quick tips as a supplement to the step-by-step instructions. 

 



Accessing AAM’s Quarterly Filing Tool

Step 1: Locate the quarterly circulation filing tool.

To enter your quarterly circulation data on behalf of your newspaper brand, select Quarterly Filing Online from the right-hand menu.

Step 2: Use the quarterly filing tool’s left-hand navigation menu.

Easily enter the required information using the tool's left-hand menu. Let's take a look at each of the menu's four navigational areas.

 

Updating Your Publication Information

Step 1: Select Survey from the Quarterly Filing Questionnaire section in the navigation menu.

The data featured on the Survey home screen is prepopulated based on your newspaper's last quarterly submission to AAM. Please take a moment to review and either confirm or update the information. Each section featured in the above screen shot is described in and corresponds to the numbers below.

  1. Circulation categories: check the circulation categories that apply for your flagship newspaper. Your selections here determine the categories made available in the following menu section: Enter Circulation Data.
  2. Affiliated publications (see below): Select whether data is being filed for any affiliated publications.
  3. Paragraph 2: Select whether you will report circulation data by AAM zone. It is optional unless separate basic prices are established for each AAM zone.
  4. Advertising Director: review and update the contact information for the advertiser director at your media company. This individual should be someone who media buyers can contact to learn more about your newspaper once it is released into the marketplace.
  5. Contact information: review and update with the appropriate contact for your media company. AAM may contact this individual with inquiries about the data once it's been submitted.
  6. Main newspaper publishing plan: Please fill in information for the following aspects of your newspaper's publishing plan.
    • Frequency: the number of days a week the newspaper is published (i.e. published Monday-Sunday or published in print on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday and published online 7 days a week)
    • Delivery vehicle: distribution platforms for the newspaper (i.e. print, online, apps)
    • Primary circulation classification: Use this field to identify your primary (majority) distribution type:
      • paid circulation
      • qualified circulation (i.e., opt-in requested),
      • or verified (i.e. TMC home delivery or nonpaid public access).
    • Description: a nonpromotional description of your newspaper’s focus.
    • Website(s): URL for your newspaper’s website
       

 

AFFILIATED PUBLICATIONS QUICK Q & A

Q: What is an affiliated publication?

A: Any print publication, newspaper or magazine owned and operated by an AAM member. This may include community or foreign language newspapers, market coverage products or magazines.

Q: May I add a new affiliated publication?

A: Yes, and we encourage you to do so. If a new publication is added, AAM will contact you to obtain more information and develop an audit approach.

Q: What is the cost to add an affiliated publication?

A: An AAM investment is necessary for each affiliated publication as audit effort is necessary to validate the distribution. After an audit approach is developed, AAM will provide a cost estimate.

 

In the next step, we'll show you how to file your flagship newspaper's publishing frequency as well as its nonpublishing and omitted days during the designated quarter.

Step 2: Move to the next section under Quarterly Filing Questionnaire. Select Main Edition Pub Plan from the navigation menu.

Each section featured in the above screen shot is described in and corresponds to the numbers below.

  1. Quarter date range: the default settings prepopulate calendar dates for the quarter. If you plan to use a financial quarter (also known as a 4-4-5 schedule), please modify the dates. Do not to skip or double count any dates from other quarters that have been previously submitted to AAM on behalf of your newspaper.
  2. Publishing plan: these are prepopulated based on your previous circulation data submissions to AAM. To change your publishing frequency, please contact AAM.
  3. Nonpublishing and omitted days: list all of the dates on which your newspaper was not published during the quarter (also known as "nonpublishing days") and those days on which your newspaper was published but excluded from AAM reporting (also know as "omitted days"). Please follow the quick tips below to get started:
    • To add a new date, click the ‘+’ symbol.
    • To delete a date, click the ‘x’ symbol.
    • Use the calendar icon to select the applicable date.
    • For each omitted day, please enter the net circulation.

Step 3: Enter the quarter date range, nonpublishing and omitted days for affiliated publications if applicable. If you are not claiming any affiliated publications, skip to STEP 4.

Select Affiliated Pub Plan from the navigation menu.

For all affiliated publications previously filed with AAM, the names and reporting frequencies are prepopulated.

  1. Click on the publication’s name to enter data.
  2. Click the Add/Edit Affiliated Publications button on the top right corner of the page to add, edit or deactivate an affiliated publication for the current quarter.
     

 

When filing your affiliated publications, be sure to provide information for two reporting requirements: primary circulation classification and unique print subscriber percentage, as both will appear in the publishing plan section on your quarterly data report.

 

The unique print subscriber percentage shows what percentage of consumers receive both your flagship newspaper and one or more affiliated publications via qualified targeted home delivery or verified home delivery. The delivery date determines if the recipient of an affiliated publication should be calculated as a unique or duplicate subscriber. Weekday circulation is measured against weekday circulation and Sunday circulation against Sunday circulation. A recipient of an affiliated publication who receives qualified targeted home delivery or verified home delivery print circulation and also receives the main AAM client newspaper or another affiliated publication may be considered a duplicate subscriber, depending on the delivery days.  

To calculate the unique subscriber percentage, you will need to answer a few questions to determine which situation applies.

Question # 1

Do you report affiliated publications?

If YES, go to Question #2

NO – STOP – no need to calculate this percentage, as it only applies to affiliated publications. 

 

Question #2

Do your affiliated publications report qualified – targeted home delivery or verified home delivery circulation?

If YES, proceed to calculate a unique subscriber percentage for each applicable affiliated publication.

If NO – STOP – There is no need to document the calculation as there should be no duplication. Please keep in mind, however, that you must report a unique subscriber percentage of 100 percent within the Publishing Plan box when filing your quarterly data. 

  1. Use the Edit/Add Affiliated Publications section to provide both primary circulation classifications and unique print subscriber percentages for each of your publications. Select Modify.
  2. Then choose the primary circulation that applies and enter the appropriate figure into the unique print subscriber percentage field.

In the next step, you'll be required to reconcile the data that's automatically calculated from the Main Edition Pub Plansection.

Step 4: Select Reconciliation of Days from the navigation menu.

In the Reconciliation of Days section, that data that you've input into the previous Main Edition Pub Plan and Affiliated Pub Plan screens are automatically calculated for the quarter.

Confirm that the days entered for the quarter are complete and accurate for all publications.

 

Entering Quarterly Circulation Data

Step 1: Select Paragraph 1 from the navigation menu.

Enter your newspapers' circulation totals for the quarter using the Paragraph 1 section.

Here, the data entry fields shown have already been predetermined by the circulation categories that you previously selected in the Survey section. If a data entry section is missing or appears in error, please return to the Survey section using the navigation menu to revise your responses.

  • Circulation categories: Options available were print, digital replica and digital nonreplica.
  • Affiliated publications: Select Affiliated Pub Plan from the navigation menu if you need to add, delete or edit affiliated publications.
  • Zone reporting: This is optional for all AAM newspapers unless separate basic prices are established by zone
  1. Column headings: enter quarterly circulation totals by reporting frequency. These frequencies are prepopulated based on previous circulation claims that have been submitted to AAM on behalf of your newspaper. To change your publishing frequency, please contact AAM.
  2. Row names: enter quarterly circulation totals for each applicable reporting category. While you have the ability to use all potential reporting categories, please be sure that you're only entering data into those rows that apply to your newspaper's publishing plan. Only rows containing values more than zero are captured for AAM reporting during the data submission process.
  3. You may view subtotals of the data entered at any time by clicking the View Totals button at the upper-right corner of the screen.

Next, you'll be required to enter basic pricing for your newspaper.

Step 2: Select Basic Prices from the navigation menu.

Data in this section is prepopulated based on previous circulation claims that have been submitted to AAM on behalf of your newspaper. Please review and edit as necessary. Use the helpful tips below to proceed.

  • To add a row, click the ‘+’ symbol on the far left side of the screen.
  • To delete a row, click the ‘x’ symbol on the far left side of the screen.
  • To edit data, click in that entry field and edit.
  • Save keeps you on the current screen.
  • Save and Continue sends you to the next section of the filing application.

In the following step, you'll be required to provide notes to help explain the data you've entered.

Step 3: Select Explanatory from the navigation menu.

Add the AAM-designated explanatory elements that apply to your newspaper. To see all the options, click on the Add Explanatory button.

A pop-up menu will appear with potential explanatory disclosures.

To open each explanatory option, click on the subject name. Then view and add the disclosure to your quarterly reporting.

  • Nonpublishing and omitted days: these are prepopulated based on the entries made in the Survey section. If the dates are incorrect, please return to the Survey section to make revisions to this information.
  • Credit and arrears allowance: this is commonly referred to as the ‘4 percent allowance.’
  • All other disclosures may be unique to each publication.

 

ZIP Code Data

Select the Add/Modify option under the ZIP code section in the navigation menu.

  • Click on the Add New Paragraph 3 button to complete a survey about your ZIP code data for the current quarter.
  • If you have already previously entered and saved ZIP code data for this quarter, select Edit to make revisions to the data.

Step 1: Complete Survey tab.

Select paragraph 3 data.

Each section featured in the above screen shot is described in and corresponds to the numbers below.

  1. Enter the Sunday date for your newspaper's ZIP code analysis.
  2. Enter the daily date for your newspaper's ZIP code analysis.
  3. A field for an optional date will appear. If you would like to file Paragraph 3 for an additional day, such as Saturday, enter that date here.
  4. Enter a pub code. This may be anything chosen by the publication. If you plan to upload multiple ZIP codes the same pub code must be used.

Confirm or edit the column headings to appear on the ZIP code analysis.

The column headings are prepopulated based on previous ZIP code data that have been submitted to AAM on behalf of your newspaper. To edit the headers, click the Change Categories button.

  • At minimum, please select the total paid, qualified and verified circulation categories that apply to your newspaper. The level of detail shown within each is at your publisher’s discretion.
  • Digital replica and nonreplica will appear as their own rows within the ZIP code analysis as it isn’t necessary to analyze digital circulation by ZIP code. They are used to include totals by circulation type. Be sure to check the applicable boxes if you are claiming digital circulation on behalf of your newspaper.

Affiliated publications, if applicable. Enter date(s) for the ZIP code analysis.

If claiming affiliated publications for the current quarter, a ZIP code analysis is required. The names of all affiliated publications are prepopulated. Click the red link to modify or deactivate.

  1. Enter the Sunday date for your newspaper's ZIP code analysis.
  2. Enter the daily date for your newspaper's ZIP code analysis.
  3. A field for an optional date will appear. If you would like to file Paragraph 3 for an additional day, such as Saturday, enter that date here.
  4. Enter a pub code. This may be anything chosen by the publication. If you plan to upload multiple ZIP codes the same pub code must be used.

Select if you'll be providing an analysis by town on behalf of your newspaper.

A town analysis is optional for all U.S. AAM newspaper members and only appears in the audit report.

Upload file for ZIP code analysis (option 1) or manually enter it into the online filing application (option 2).

Option 1: Newspapers may upload a file already containing a completed ZIP code analysis. To do so:

  • Click Choose file and select the completed ZIP code analysis file.
  • Click Upload file to submit the file to AAM.

The file must utilize a CSV or ASCII format. Click the on-screen link for more detailed file format requirements.

Option 2: Manually enter ZIP code analysis on ZIP code data entry tab.

  • Click ZIP Code Data Entry at the bottom of the screen.
  • Manually enter the ZIP code data for the selected date(s).

Proration option for publications with daily circulation under 25,000.

Option only appears if you are eligible to prorate paragraph 3. If you wish to prorate circulation data, do not:

  • Change frequencies reported in step 1.  For example, report an optional day for the first time.
  • Change circulation categories in step 2.
  • Add or delete an affiliated publication.
  • Add or subtract zip codes.

Plus, one actual paragraph 3 must be completed per audit period.

Step 2: Complete Circulations Records Totals tab

Enter gross circulation totals for the ZIP code analysis date(s) using the Circulation Record Totals tab. Click on the Circulation Record Totals button at the bottom of the screen.

For the main newspaper and all affiliated publications (if applicable), circulation metrics must be provided for the following:

  • ZIP code analysis date(s)
  • The previous corresponding date(s): if the ZIP code analysis is for a Wednesday, circulation metrics are also needed for the Wednesday from the previous week.
  • The following corresponding date(s): if the ZIP code analysis is for a Wednesday, circulation metrics are also needed for the Wednesday from the following week.

To exit this section at any time, click the Close Window button at the bottom of the screen.

Step 3: Complete ZIP Code tab

If you uploaded a file using the directions in Step 5 on the Survey Page tab, your data will automatically appear on this tab (ZIP Code Data Entry tab) and will be available for editing.

ZIP code data are prepopulated based on the previous ZIP code data that have been submitted to AAM on behalf of your newspaper. Each section featured in the above screen shot is described in and corresponds to the numbers below.

  • Click the delete button if a ZIP code is no longer applicable. Only ZIP codes with 25 copies or more on the selected date must be disclosed.
  • To insert a new ZIP code, scroll to the bottom on the page and click on Insert New ZIP. 
  1. Enter ZIP code data for the main newspaper and each affiliated publication, if applicable. A tab appears at the top of the screen for each publication.
  2. Enter ZIP code data for each date required. For example, if the main newspaper publishes daily and Sunday, then both a Sunday and daily date must be analyzed. A tab for each is provided.
  3. Due to the quantity of ZIP codes disclosed, you may need to click on Next Records to see and enter data for additional ZIP codes.
  4. Once you are satisfied with all the entries, don’t forget to submit the ZIP code analyses to AAM by clicking on the Ready for Submission button in the upper left corner of the screen.
     

 

NOTE: Before submitting, ensure the circulation totals entered for the ZIP code analysis reconcile to the totals entered in the Circulation Record Totals. A comparison is shown at the bottom of your screen. A zero difference should also appear for each circulation category.

 

Also, all ZIP code cells in the Survey Page tab are editable. Should you choose to use AAM's proration option (see STEP 6), cells will not be editable once you select the Calculate Proration button.

County Tab (only applies to certain titles): If you report county with your ZIP code analysis, use the County tab.

  1. Enter the amount of circulation you wish to add or subtract from the county totals above for each circulation category. Use a minus sign (-) to enter a negative number.
  2. Repeat for each county you wish to adjust. Remember, county totals must match back to your Circulation Record Totals and your ZIP Codes Totals. For example, if you have no differences at the bottom and deduct 10 copies from Home Delivery in County A you must add 10 copies to Home Delivery in another County or in Miscellaneous in order to stay in balance.

 

Review and Submit

Step 1: Select View Errors from the navigation menu.

Use this section to review the data you've just entered to check for any errors.

  • If any errors exist, an itemized list will appear. Then, please revisit where the error exists in the filing tool and revise as necessary.
  • When you are satisfied with the data you've entered and all data is correct, please click the Continue button in the lower-right corner of the screen.

Step 2: Upload images

Select Upload Images from the navigation menu. Newspapers may provide an updated logo or other images for submission to AAM.

Step 3: Enter publisher comments

Select Publisher Comments from the navigation menu. Please, enter any general comments to communicate to AAM staff any issues with or specific details relating to your quarterly data. If you enter any comments, be sure to click Save before exiting this screen.

Step 4: View quarterly data

Select View Quarterly Data from the navigation menu. Take a moment to review all data entries for accuracy before submission to AAM.

Step 5: Submit your quarterly circulation metrics.

Select Final Step Submit from the navigation menu.

Each section featured in the above screen shot is described in and corresponds to the numbers below.

  1. Enter your name and title that the quarterly circulation data that your submitting to AAM on behalf of your newspaper are true and comply with AAM bylaws and rules.
  2. Check the box next to Date Signed to authorize submission. NOTE: This section provides a digital signature. A hard copy signatory form (printed, signed and faxed to AAM) is not necessary.
  3. Enter the email address where you would like to receive confirmation of your newspaper's data submission.
  4. Enter any additional comments for AAM staff.
  5. When you're ready to submit your quarterly circulation data, select Submit Quarterly Data to AAM. An email confirmation will be sent to the email address you entered in the previous field.

 

Take the Virtual Tour

Take a few minutes and watch a tutorial on how to use the circulation filing tool.

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Do you have questions or want to learn more?

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