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Publisher rapped over 'higher circulation' claim

A local press publisher has been forced to apologise for making inaccurate claims about its circulation.

The Worcester Standard, owned by Bullivant Media, published an advertisement that claimed it had a higher circulation than “any other local newspaper.”

However rival publisher Newsquest complained to the Audit Bureau of Circulation about the ad and its objections have now been upheld.

The most recent ABC figures give the Newquest-owned Berrow’s Worcester Journal a circulation of 41,754, compared to the Standard’s 34,645.

According to a story in the Worcester News written by editor Kevin Ward, the advertisement also inaccurately compared the circulation of the free weekly Standard with the paid-for daily News, and claimed the News was a weekly newspaper.

A second advertisement published in Bullivant’s Evesham Observer also wrongly claimed its circulation was higher than the Evesham and Cotswold Journal. According to the ABC figures, the Journal’s circulation is some 3,000 higher.

ABC upheld complaints made about the advertisements by Newsquest, publishers of the Worcester News, Berrow’s Worcester Journal and Evesham Journal.

The independent auditing body has ordered Bullivant to publish corrections and apologies in the Worcester Standard and Evesham Observer.

Trevor Sallis, Publisher for Newsquest’s Worcester division, said: “Advertisements such as these are used across the industry as important marketing tools. But they have to be accurate.

“If they are not, then readers and advertisers are misled. This is what happened in this case, which is unfortunate for Bullivant’s customers, and we are pleased with the action taken by ABC.”

No-one from Bullivant Media was available for comment.


Fearful for future (28/06/2010 09:40:07)
This is quite funny, given that the complainant was Newsquest. Its three papers in the Guardian series in East London are still carrying the circulation figures from January to June 2008! The last audit showed sales around 25 per cent lower.

Newshound (28/06/2010 10:50:02)
Rival paper editor pens story criticising opponents. His boss jumps up and down with false sense of injustice (as if his titles never make errors), industry website cuts and pastes it on to the internet. No-one comes out of it looking too clever. The end.