Answers about controlled circulation

In October, Verified Circulation implemented a new policy on mandatory counting and reporting of controlled circulation returns. Under the new policy, Form GÔÇöPublisherÔÇÖs Delivery to Carriers, Dealers, Distributors, Street Boxes and ApartmentsÔÇöis now mandatory for all publications with controlled circulation delivered using these methods. Form G includes a declaration which must be signed by the circulation manager and driver, stating, “We certify that the above figures accurately represent the number of copies delivered to each of the above locations and that the returns at each location have been counted and deducted to give the net figures.” Failure to report returns will result in a 25-percent deduction from the total circulation figure for this category.

Q: I am applying to VC, but I am not sure if we are a paid or controlled paper. What is the difference between paid and controlled circulation?

A: Paid circulation is defined as copies of a publication that have been paid for by the purchaser. The minimum rate for a paid paper is $12.00 per year, or $5.00 per year for municipal contracts. A subscription is considered as paid circulation if the amount paid is at least 50 percent of the regular subscription price. To qualify as a paid publication, the total paid circulation must be at least 70 percent of the total circulation.

Controlled circulation is circulation that is distributed free of charge to named individuals or business establishments, or made available for pick-up in public locations. Returns must be reported for controlled copies delivered to carriers, dealers, distributors and street boxes and apartments in order to obtain an accurate representation of the publicationÔÇÖs circulation.

Q: We ship our free paper to our dealers in remote communities. As distance is a problem, we cannot accurately report the returns. Do we still need to report returns on Form G?

A: You can set up a simple system of tracking returns by asking your dealer, distributor or carrier to count the number of returns per issue and fax these figures to you. This way, you save on transportation charges as you do not need to have the copies returned to you and you do not need to visit the location in order to record returns.

Q: We publish a controlled paper and we distribute by carriers and dealers, but we donÔÇÖt receive any returns. Do we have to complete Form G even if we donÔÇÖt have returns?

A: The intent of the new policy is to capture as accurately as possible the circulation pattern and practices of the publication. In many cases, the publisher has reported zero returns because a system has not been put in place to count them. Whether you have any returns or not, all members with controlled circulation delivered using these methods must implement a system to track returns and record the results on Form G. Both the system that you put in place and the numbers that you claim will be verified by the auditor.

Q: We circulate our papers for free; however, we only distribute by mail. Is Form G mandatory for our paper?

A: No. Because distribution by mail does not involve having a driver pick up or count returns, you are not required to complete Form G.

Q: We have a form that is very similar to Form G that we use for recording returns. Do I still have to complete Form G?

A: Provided that the form