Ducking ABC

IN Media Practice | 16/05/2002
Ducking ABC

Ducking ABC


India`s biggest publications do not have their circulations listed by the Audit Bureau of Circulations.


By The Hoot Desk

India`s biggest publications do not have their circulations listed by the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

The country`s leading publications have ensured that the Audit Bureau of Circulations` bi-annual exercise of publishing circulation figures has become a bit of a farce. Some of the biggest publications no longer figure in this list, for one reason or another. That includes some or all editions of the Times of India, The Hindustan Times, The Indian Express, India Today, Dainik Jagran, Malayala Manorama, Punjab Kesari the Deccan Chronicle, and Amar Ujala.

The reason listed for all of the above except the Indian Express is "under consideration". Under Consideration in the ABC list published for the period ending December 31, 2001 is defined as "Incoming certificate under examination or subject to correspondence." In other words the auditors have not accepted the submitted figures. And the irony is that five of the eight newspaper industry representatives on the Audit Bureau`s Council of Management are representing publications which are "under consideration." They are Aroon Purie of India Today, Shobana Bharatiya of the Hindustan Times, A K Bahl of the Sunday Times of India, Ashwini Kumar Chopra of Punjab Kesari, and Philip Mathew of The Manorama group.

In the case of the Express, the Mumbai, Nagpur and Pune editions are listed as not received, which is defined as "Incoming certificate not submitted." The New Indian Express which has a large number of Southern Editions comes under the same categorisation. And the Delhi edition of the paper simply does not figure on the list. Last year all these editions were listed as "Deemed not received".

If nothing else, that is a comment on how much credibility ABC now has as source of circulation figures. In recent years ABC`s certification has come under doubt. More than one publication has said to the Hoot at some point "ABC can be managed." Which raises the question, if the above people despite being on the Council of Management could not manage the figures, there must be quite a lot to manage.

While the Times of India has its Delhi, Pune, and Bangalore editions listed as being under consideration, the Economic Times is in the clear with all its editions being listed with a combined average net paid circulation of 4.32 lakhs. The Hindustan Times has all its editions listed as being under consideration. The English edition of India Today too is under consideration. The Statesman`s figures have not been accepted by the Bureau.

The issues which lead the auditing team from ABC to raise questions are practices adopted by newspapers today in the face of growing competition. This includes giving away copies free, printing excess copies and selling them as raddi, or waste, offering gifts and promotions in a bid to increase circulation. Faced by a number of questionable circulation tactics, they can delay giving certification. So when the country`s biggest, most reputed, and established news papers are denied or delayed certification it raises questions about their circulation practices.

Regional newspapers whose circulation claims have not been accepted by the Audit Bureau are besides the Deccan Chronicle, The Sentinel of Assam, the Assam Tribune, the Gwalior edition of

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