Emap bulks row leads to compensation calls

Emap has been issued with a new set of Audit Bureau of Circulations figures and is bracing itself for a wave of compensation claims after it was found to have infringed the ABC's rules regarding bulk sales (Campaign, 25 October).

The magazine, radio and television group had been forced to restate the figures for 14 of its titles after the bulks furore emerged last week.

The title most affected by the re-issues is Mixmag, whose circulation is down a massive 26 per cent from 100,336 to 74,070 for the past six months.

Emap's teen music title Smash Hits suffered a similar fate, with its circulation plummeting from 190,177 to 145,149 - a fall of 24 per cent.

The men's magazine Arena also faired badly, down 18 per cent from 38,326 to a circulation of 31,418.

Other Emap titles affected by the re-issues were the music magazine Q, which was down 11 per cent from 180,168 to 160,950, and Here's Health, which was down 10 per cent from 30,180 to 27,189.

The greatly altered figures will cause concern among press buyers, some of whom may have based their initial negotiations with Emap on the old circulations. Earlier this week, the WPP agency MindShare was reported to be seeking talks with Emap to discuss the issue of compensation.

However, the MediaCom group press director, Steve Goodman, doesn't believe that every media agency will take such a dramatic stance .

He said: "Whether media agencies seek compensation is subject to whether they had included bulks in their initial negotiations. We concentrate on actively purchased circulation and there are a number of media agencies which would have also taken bulks into account."

Emap said it is confident that the question of compensation to advertisers will be largely diluted by the fact that the bulk copies were legitimately distributed and delivered to the relevant audiences in the first place.