The ABC council is considering a proposal to remove cut-price sales
from a magazine's news-stand figures in response to Richard Desmond's 1p
OK! promotion run in the past two issues of the Sunday Express.
The review of the ABC rules follows an official complaint from OK!'s
celebrity rival magazine, Hello!.
The council is understood to be weighing the possibility of discounting
editions of an issue sold for less than 20 per cent of its original
price from a magazine's news-stand sales.
Under such a rule, the 56-page versions of OK!, offered for 1p as part
of a pounds 1 package with the Sunday Express, would be registered as
non-actively purchased bulk sales. Such cut-price samples are included
as lower rate newsstand sales in the ABC's bi-annual circulation
The ABC's director of newspapers and consumer magazines, Martyn Gates,
confirmed that a review of the rules was under way following the OK!
promotion, but would not comment on the reforms being put forward.
'There are a lot of different options being discussed,' he said. 'We are
reviewing the rules as a result of this campaign but I can't talk about
the details of the proposals.'
Gates added that, even under the existing ABC rules, it was not certain
that the 1p issues would count. He said that auditors would demand that
returned copies were correctly accounted, something that could prove
difficult with such a cut-rate promotion.