2004 was a very active year for VC as we continued to improve the services we provide to members. The program experienced steady growth over the last year, and the membership stands at 585 active member publications to-date.
Early this year, the CCNA will launch the much-anticipated VC website. These initiatives will enable members to record their weekly circulation activity on pre-calculated forms offered on-line. At the end of a 26-week period, publishers will have the option to submit their reports electronically. Publishers may also view their final circulation reports on-line. At the same time, the new program manuals will be available to the membership in CD and printed formats. Details regarding these exciting initiatives will be explained to members in the coming weeks.
On-site audits were implemented in 2004, with three audits conducted as a test in Ontario in May, 2004. Eight audits were conducted in the western provinces in November, the second phase of the initiative. We are pleased to report that publishers were effectively maintaining their circulation records in accordance with program policies and procedures.
The Verified Circulation committee held a planning session in August, 2004, to examine the future direction of Verified Circulation, where it stands in the marketplace, and where the program has potential for further growth. The CCNA board of directors ratified a number of recommendations at their November meeting. Some highlights are discussed below.
- Twelve-month auditing period
With credibility at the forefront of all discussions and a desire to maintain the programÔÇÖs recognition in the industry, an in-depth review of current industry practices resulted with the decision to implement a 12-month audit period as opposed to the programÔÇÖs current six-month audit. This change is essential in presenting the industry with accurate and credible circulation figures. This means that publishers will continue to file two reports based on 26 weeks, but they must maintain their circulation records (maintain their back-up documentation for the interim reporting period) for an annual submission that includes 12 months of circulation reporting. Details regarding both report submission periods (Annual/Interim) will be forwarded to all VC members shortly.
- VC auditor instructions
In addition to program manual rewrites that will be launched in 2005, a rewrite to the instructions provided to chartered accountants conducting audits for our newspaper membership will be available. A rewrite was necessary to ensure that all auditors apply the same rigorous process to the auditing function, as this is integral to the credibility of the program.
- Expansion of the program
Although the priority of Verified Circulation is to enhance services for the community newspaper membership, the future direction and expansion of the program was examined. As you will recall, the program expanded its services in 2002 to include business and consumer publications owned by general members in the audit service. The committee considered the program growth and the interest this initiative has generated in the business and consumer magazine sector. It was decided to lift the restrictions that prevented publications that did not have an affiliation to a community newspaper member and grant these publications access to the program.
A friendly reminder: The Verified Circulation program is self-administered and it is the responsibility of the member publications to file reports twice a year. Although initial notices are forwarded regarding submission due dates, it is often not possible to maintain second and third notifications of your due dates due to time restraints. Please note reporting periods on your calendar to ensure timely submissions. If y