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MEN withdraws from ABC in circulation row

The Manchester Evening News has today announced it is suspending its membership of the Audit Bureau of Circulation after a row about how its circulation is measured.

February’s twice-yearly ABC figures showed the MEN with an average daily circulation of 153,724 – 81,781 of which were given away free.

However since then the paper has taken the decision to print fewer free copies at the start of the week and on Saturdays, and more on Thursdays and Fridays.

It claims existing ABC rules will fail to reflect these changes, resulting in circulation figures for its more popular days of the week being understated.

The paper’s own figures put its average Monday to Wednesday circulation at 88,555 its Saturday circulation at 67,349, and its Thursday and Friday circulation at 165,238.

“Under the existing ABC rules, this more bespoke distribution pattern would not be represented clearly and as a result MEN Media have opted to temporarily withdraw the Manchester Evening News from ABC and instead publish its circulation figures through an independently audited publisher statement,” said a spokesman.

MEN managing director Ruth Spratt added: “We continue to have a very good relationship with ABC and have no intention of removing any of our other titles.

“We hope that in the not too distant future, through continued discussion, our more bespoke and transparent distribution pattern is included within ABC rules and we can look to move the Manchester Evening News back into ABC.”

The MEN was one of only three daily titles in mainland Britain increased their circulation in the year to December 2008, all three of which had adopted the part paid-for, part free model.

The others were the Reading Evening Post, which is now twice-weekly, and the Birmingham Post.


Dan Depan (18/08/2009 11:43:46)
So what odds on the MEN circulation arresting its decline under their “independent” audit. Hooray and a bigger bonus for Mr Dodson

Bob Woodward (18/08/2009 17:13:45)
Giving out free newspapers is simply a more respectable form of spamming and in the long term will do nothing to help real journalism. The managers that hyperactively bounce around newsrooms making absurd claims about circulation gains on the back of free distribution increases are completely deluded and reside in the realms of the asinine.