Single Copy Paid

Ensure your newspaper's paid single copies count as paid circulation.

 

Single issues purchased by individual consumers for personal use are eligible as paid single copy if the purchase price is at least one cent, net of all considerations. See also AAM Rule C 1.1 Paid Circulation Defined.

It is the publisher’s responsibility to ensure their single-copy promotions are in compliance with all AAM rules and guidelines. Upon request, AAM’s audit department provides a confidential review of clients’ programs. If you are developing an initiative that is not addressed in this guide or have additional questions, please contact AAM.

 

Note: While AAM Rule C 1.1 Paid Circulation Defined is the primary rule defining paid circulation, it is not the only rule to consider when developing single-copy promotions. Rules also govern premiums, combination sales, etc. Therefore, a newspaper must consider all rules applicable to the program being developed.

 



Back Copies

Back copies are not eligible for inclusion as paid circulation. See AAM Rule C 5.12 Single Issue Sales of Back Copies.

An issue of a newspaper becomes a back copy when the following corresponding day’s newspaper becomes available for sale. Said another way, a Monday issue stays current until the following Monday’s newspaper is available for sale, a Tuesday issue stays current until the following Tuesday’s newspaper is available for sale, etc.

Example:

  • Monday, December 1 issue goes on sale. All single issue sales of the December 1 issue are eligible as paid single copy until the Monday, December 8 issue becomes available for sale. 
  • Copies of the December 1 issue sold after the December 8 issue goes on sale are back copies and not eligible for inclusion as paid circulation.

 

Charitable Donations

When solicitations indicate that a charitable donation is included in the purchase price, the single issue is eligible as paid single copy if the following requirements are met:

  • The donation amount and name of the charity are clearly identified.
  • The purchase price for the single issue is at least one cent plus the full value of the donation. See also AAM Rules C 1.1 Paid Circulation Defined and C 5.7 Subscriptions Involving Charitable Donations.

 

Coffee and Newspaper Concept

Newspapers sold in a package with nonpublication products (i.e. coffee, soda or donut) are eligible as paid single copy if the following requirements are met:

  • All items in the package and the package price are clearly identified.
  • During the entire promotional period, the nonpublication product(s) is sold separately to everyone for a price less than the package.
  • The difference between the package price and the price of the nonpublication product(s) separately is the implied value of the newspaper and must be at least one cent, net of all considerations. See AAM Rule C 1.1 Paid Circulation Defined.
  • Copies presented or implied as free are only eligible as verified public access circulation.
     

 

Note: If the program positions the nonpublication product as free with the purchase of a newspaper, the premium rules apply.

 

Examples:

Buy a 12 oz. coffee and a daily Illinois Today for the low price of only $1.25!

12 oz. coffee sold separately for $1.24.

 

Buy a 12 oz. coffee, a donut and a Sunday Illinois Today for the low price of only $1.50!

12 oz. coffee sold separately for $1.24.
Donut sold separately for 25¢

 

Combination Sales

When two or more different priced publications are sold together (newspaper or periodical), the circulation is eligible as paid single copy if the following requirements are met:

  • The selling price of the combination package is at least one cent per publication, net of considerations. See also AAM Rule C 1.1 Paid Circulation Defined.
  • At all locations where the combination is sold, each publication is independently available for sale at a price less than the package. See AAM Rule C 5.3 Combination Sales.
  • None of the publications are stated or implied as free, no additional cost, no extra charge, complimentary or other synonymous language.
     

 

Note: AAM Rules C 5.1 Premiums Defined indicates that priced publications (newspaper or periodical) are not permitted to be positioned as premiums (free gifts). Rather, the above guidelines for combination sales must be met.

 

Examples:

What a Deal!

Buy the daily Illinois Today and the daily Wisconsin Gazette together for only 50¢. 
(Each paper available separately for 49¢ each)

 

What a Deal!

Buy the Sunday Illinois Today and the current issue of Chicago Hotspots magazine for only $2.00! 
(Illinois Today available separately for $1.00
Chicago Hotspots available separately for $1.99)

 

Commemorative Edition or Section

A commemorative edition is eligible as paid single copy if the following requirements are met:

  • It represents the complete newspaper for the day.
  • The purchase price is at least one cent, net of considerations. See AAM Rule C 1.1 Paid Circulation Defined.
  • The edition complies with AAM Rule C 2.4 Separate Editions.

Commemorative sections are not eligible as paid single copy since they don’t represent the day’s complete newspaper.

If sold subsequent to home delivery distribution, delivery of the section to home delivery subscribers does not impact paid home delivery subscriptions.

 

Contests

If a consumer is entered into a contest, directly resulting from a single-copy purchase, qualification of the single issue is not impacted. The single issue is eligible as paid provided the solicitation complies with all other AAM rules and guidelines. 

Technically, if the winner of the contest is a single-copy purchaser, the individual received a premium. If, over the audit period, the number of winners is minimal, the impact to paid circulation is immaterial. Therefore, AAM considers it to have no impact on qualification.

No disclosure of these contests is required. See AAM Rule C 5.5 Contests and Coupons.

 

Discounts

Single issues sold at a discount are eligible as paid single copy if the purchase is at least one cent, net of all considerations. See AAM Rule C 1.1 Paid Circulation Defined.

 

Extras

Extra editions produced and sold on newsstands published after the current day’s issue because of an unplanned event are eligible as paid single-copy sales if the following requirements are met:

  • The purchase price is at least one cent, net of considerations. See AAM Rule C 1.1 Paid Circulation Defined.
  • The edition must comply with AAM Rule C 2.4 Separate Editions.

The editorial and advertising content of that extra edition is at the discretion of the publication.

Example:

EXTRA! EXTRA! Read All About It!

Local team wins the Stanley Cup!

Buy a paper for only $1.00!

 

Multi-Copy Sales

When multiple copies of the same newspaper are sold together, all copies are eligible as paid single copy if the following requirements are met:

  • All issues are current. See back copies for definition of a current issue.
  • The purchase price of the multi-copy sale is at least one cent, net of considerations, per copy. See AAM Rule C 1.1 Paid Circulation Defined.
  • The consumer is presented with the option to purchase only a single copy.
    • The price of the single copy must be lower than the bundled price by at least one cent (per copy removed from the sale).
    • See AAM Rule C 5.3 Combination Sales, section (b) (2).
  • None of the copies are stated or implied as free, no additional cost, complimentary or other synonymous language. Copies presented or implied as free are only eligible as verified public access circulation.

Single issues ordered by businesses are not eligible as paid single copy, in any quantity.

Examples:

DOUBLE-DEAL SUNDAYS!

Double the coupons and double the comics. Why share when you can get a copy for each of you! Get 2 copies of today's Sunday Illinois Today for only $1.25!*

*A single issue of the newspaper is available for $1.00.

 

Miss the Sunday paper?

Don't worry...it's on sale all week!

AND if you buy a daily paper with a Sunday, we'll give you both copies for only $1.01!

Daily paper available separately for 50¢
Sunday paper available separately for $1.00

 

Missed yesterday's news?

Don't worry...it's on sale all week! AND if you buy both yesterday's daily issue and today's daily issue, we'll give you both copies for only 51¢!*

*Each issue also available separately for 50¢ each

 

Premiums

Premiums are anything offered as gifts to individuals for purchasing a single issue.  This includes free items and discounts.

Single issues sold with premiums (gifts) are eligible as paid single copy if the purchase price is at least one cent, plus the full value of the premium.

  • The full value of the premium is considered to be the highest of either the stated value (value stated on the promotional material), retail value (price it would cost a consumer to buy the item in the public marketplace), or cost to the publisher (cost to obtain or produce the item). See AAM Rule C 5.2 Premiums with Subscriptions/Single Copy Sales.
  • In some cases, an item may not be sold to the public and promotional materials will not state a value. In those cases, the cost to publisher would be used to determine the premium value. However, if more than one value exists, the highest value is the AAM premium value.
  • If the item is a discount card with infinite value (percent off), it must be sold to nonsubscribers to establish a retail value.

The following items are not considered premiums per AAM Rule C 5.1 Premium Defined:

  • Publications (newspapers and periodicals) published four or more times per year. In these cases combination sales apply.
  • Free or discounted access to the archives or back content.
  • Free or discounted access to online content or electronic edition from the same editorial home page of the publication.

Buy a daily Illinois Today at 50¢ and get a free pack of gum (a 40¢ value)!

 

Buy a Sunday Illinois Today at regular price and get a bottle of water for half price (a 50¢ value)!

Regular price for newspaper is $1.00.

 

Sale of Single Issues with Announcements

Single issues sold with announcements for deaths, weddings, engagements, anniversaries or births are eligible as paid single copy if the following requirements are met:

  • The consumer takes affirmative action (opts-in) to accept the copy.
  • The announcement is available for sale without the copy included.
  • The cost of the announcement, when sold on its own, is less than the package cost. The difference is at least one cent, net of considerations. See AAM Rule C 1.1 Paid Circulation Defined.
  • The invoice, receipt, or billing statement for the other service itemizes a qualifying price for the single issue separate from the cost of the other service. See AAM’s Policy on Sales with Other Services.
  • Copies presented or implied as free are only eligible as verified public access circulation.

See also multi-copy sales if multiple copies are offered with the announcement.

Example:

Place your wedding announcement in the newspaper today and get your very own copy as a keepsake for an additional 15¢!

 

For the Audit

An example of each promotion used in the audit period must be retained for review by AAM. See AAM Rule B 1.1 File Copies, Subscription Promotion Offers.

This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Radio scripts (or recordings of radio advertisements)
  • Television scripts and storyboards (or recordings of television advertisements)
  • Website pages
  • Point-of-purchase materials (signs, posters, etc.)
  • Advertising campaigns (run of press and free standing inserts)

Newspapers should be able to identify the internal promotional code assigned for each specific and unique promotion and obtain a production report for each.

The auditor may also evaluate the financial relationships between the newspaper and its single-copy wholesalers and retailers such as wholesale rates, credits and debits issued, copies unsold and collection procedures. Access to the records of any agents is also required. These records may include, but are not limited to, copies of invoices, draw sheets, collection reports, debit and credit memos, payments, and bank deposits.

It is imperative to the efficiency of the audit that the publication responds in a timely manner to all auditor requests for documentation.

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