Board expands VC program

CCNAÔÇÖs Board of Directors has expanded the Verified Circulation (VC) program in order to attract more participants.

The VC Committee ratified new criteria for the VC program at a meeting on March 29, 2001. The Board voted to ratify the new criteria at a meeting in Toronto from April 27-28.

The VC program is a comprehensive newspaper auditing system designed for the community press in Canada. VC is a self-administered program (i.e. the member newspaper collects its own circulation data according to the VC rules and regulations). These data are reported to VC every six months. Once per year, a thorough and rigorous audit of the data is performed by the VC Circulation Auditor or a Chartered Accountant.

The VC program is an important industry service and already audits more newspaper titles than any other competing service in Canada (540). Expanding the client base is expected to increase the credibility of the program and earn additional revenues for the association.

Credibility of the program was an issue during the Board meeting, where there was a consensus that the VC program must be seen as credible (if not more so) than similar and competing programs (ABC, etc.).

The Board voted to change the criteria to widen the programÔÇÖs client base while still showing preference for voting members of CCNA through special pricing.

Currently, general members of CCNA have full access to the VC program. General members are those that meet the membership criteria of one of the seven regional associations that make up CCNA. Sustaining members, those that do not meet the general member criteria, pay a yearly fee.

The recommendations that the Board approved for the VC program require that all VC clients have some form of membership either in CCNA or one of the seven regional associations. The recommendations outline four basic categories of eligible publications:

ÔÇó Full voting membership,
ÔÇó Vertical publications owned by full general members,
ÔÇó Sustaining, non-voting members of CCNA, and
ÔÇó Regional associate members.

There will be no change in the eligibility criteria for the full voting general membership category. The board affirmed that this class of membership always receives the lowest available ÔÇ£memberÔÇØ price for VC audits. The intention is to make it clear that community newspapers are the true members of CCNA and that they are entitled to the best possible price for their services.

The lowest fee for the VC program currently stands at $175. In addition, full members have the option of using their own auditor or our in-house auditor. VCÔÇÖs in-house auditor charges a fee ranging from $75-$200, depending on the circulation of the publication.

All other categories of VC client ÔÇô vertical publications owned by members, sustaining members, and regional associate members ÔÇô will be charged a higher fee ($350, or double the member fee) for the basic service. In addition, all clients in the three other categories are required to use VCÔÇÖs in-house auditor rather than using their own. The Board felt this would build a higher level of control and credibility.

The vertical publications owned by full general members category is new. The applicant must show evidence that a full voting member owns the vertical publication in question, but there will be no limitations on content, format, or frequency. The intention of this part of the program is to extend a valuable member service to publications owned by full members. This recognizes that vertical publications are often part of a successful business strategy in any community.

Applicants to the sustaining, non-voting members of CCNA category must make sure that the publication entered does not meet the eligibility criteria of regional associations for membership as a community newspaper. A membership fee of $400 annually is also required, but there is no limitation on the