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Indian newspaper pledges not to burn unsold copies to fudge circulation data

Indian newspaper campaignThe Times Group-owned newspaper Vijay Karnataka, which serves Southwest India, is running an ad campaign pitched at advertisers, measurement body Audit Bureau of Circulation and media buyers that pledges not to inflate its circulation figures by erroneously counting or destroying unsold copies.

In what it bills as a pledge to the ABC, advertisers and media planners and buyers everywhere, the paper’s ‘For the ethical marketing of newspapers’ campaign says: “We will not commission unnecessarily high print runs and then proceed to secretly destroy unsold copies in a bonfire.”

Another execution reads: “We promise never to forget the difference between sold and unsold copies and therefore never to count copies that are doled out to dealers to inflate our circulation numbers.”

Vijay Karnataka campaignThe campaign contains a series of pledges that are being sent out to the industry at a time when newspaper circulation figures are a contentious issue for one of the world’s few major media markets where print advertising is still growing.

Controversy has surrounded the Indian Readership Survey, and how circulation figures for newspapers are calculated in India. In February, IRS results created such an uproar among publishers that many rejected the findings and withdrew their membership from research body.

Members of the Indian Newspaper Society such as The Time of India, the country’s largest circulating paper, called the results “badly flawed” and containing “shocking anomalies”.

However last month, the Media Research Users Council agreed to lift a boycott of the IRS, although uncertainty still lingers around the process of print measurement.

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