Sandi Licking, Client Solutions Training Manager
In our Circulation 101 columns, we explore some of the foundational knowledge needed to understand and analyze print and digital circulation. Whether you’re new to circulation and need a quick cheat sheet or you’re a veteran looking for a refresh, we’ve got something for you. In this column, we explore the various categories and definitions for paid and verified magazine subscriptions.
Before we define the different subscription categories, let’s review a common phrase used throughout the descriptions: net of considerations. A consideration is anything that a consumer may be offered to encourage them to purchase a subscription to the magazine. For example, a coffee mug featuring the magazine’s logo or tickets to a magazine-sponsored event are both considerations. Net of considerations is the amount of money the publisher receives after the value of the consideration has been deducted from the purchased price of the magazine subscription. To qualify as paid circulation, the consumer must pay at least one cent after the deducted value of any consideration.
There are several different subcategories of paid subscriptions, including:
A subscription ordered and paid for by an individual for at least one cent, net of considerations, including individually paid subscriptions and subscriptions generated by premium sales, gift subscriptions, discounted subscriptions, combination sales, and award point subscriptions.
Association: Deductible Subscriptions
Subscriptions received as part of a membership in an association, organization or society. The cost of the subscription is deductible from association dues so that the member may decline the subscription and deduct its value from the dues.
Association: Nondeductible Subscriptions
Subscriptions received as part of membership in an association, organization or society. Unlike deductible association subscriptions, the cost of the subscription is included in the membership dues and is not deductible or refundable.
Club Membership: Deductible Subscriptions
Similar to the deductible association category, these subscriptions are served to individuals who have a membership in a club or organization for a common purpose. The cost of the subscription is deductible from the club or membership fees.
Club Membership: Nondeductible Subscriptions
Nondeductible club membership subscriptions are also served to individuals who have a membership in a club or organization with a common purpose, but the cost of the subscription is included in the membership fee and is not deductible.
Individual subscriptions served a month or later, usually from copies that were not sold in the initial distribution and returned to the distributor.
Multi-Title Digital Program
Paid digital subscriptions obtained through a multi-title digital subscription service such as Texture where individuals may access multiple digital copies as part of their subscription.
Partnership Deductible Subscriptions
Subscriptions served to individuals that are tied to a partnership agreement with other goods or services. For example, a subscription to a beauty magazine may be tied to the purchase of a hair dryer. The subscription amount may be deducted from the cost of the goods or service at the point of sale if the consumer declines the subscription.
Subscriptions purchased in quantities of 11 or more to promote the professional or business interests of the purchaser. Paid sponsored sales include the following categories: sponsorship, group and military subscriptions.
Verified circulation is subscription copies designated by publishers for readership in public places or intended for individual use by recipients who are likely to have a strong affinity for the editorial content of the magazine. There are two subcategories:
Subscription copies intended for use in the waiting room by patrons of a business or copies placed in guest rooms at hotels for use by the guests.
Subscription copies delivered to a consumer who is likely to have a strong affinity for the editorial content of the publication. No payment is required but the recipient must be given the opportunity to opt-out of the subscription.
To learn more about paid promotions, view our magazine promotions guide. You can review the full list of magazine circulation terms and definitions in our support center.