Ask AAM: Determining Verified vs. Analyzed Nonpaid Magazine Circulation

October 12, 2018


Publishers use a variety of channels to get their magazines into the hands of consumers. Besides paid subscriptions and single-copy sales, how are other types of circulation categorized? Is there a difference between the copies read in a doctor’s waiting room and those picked up from a stack in an apartment building lobby? In this article, we’ll discuss the differences between verified and analyzed nonpaid magazine circulation.


What is Verified Circulation?

In the case of magazine circulation, verified circulation is defined as:

Subscription copies designated by publishers for readership in public places and to individual users who are likely to have an affinity for the content of the magazine.

Let’s look at parts of this statement to further clarify the definition.

  1. The definition of verified circulation only applies to “subscription copies.” This means that single-copy sales are not eligible to be claimed as verified.
  2. …designated by publishers” shows that these copies are provided at the publisher’s discretion. Copies can be “pushed” by the publisher and made available at their option, or these copies can be “pulled,” or requested, by individuals.
  3. …for readership in public places and to individual users” states that these copies are either designated for an individual or provided in a public location where it’s common to read magazines or other publications.
  4. …users who are likely to have an affinity for the content of the magazine” demonstrates that there is a common link between the individual recipient or patrons of a public location and the magazine’s primary content. For example, a parenting magazine located at a pediatrician’s office is an obvious link between the magazine’s content and the location of the magazine copy.


Categories of Verified Circulation

There are two general categories of verified circulation: public place and individual use.

Public place circulation is defined as copies intended for patrons of a business and often viewed by multiple readers. Examples of public place circulation may include hotel copies in a guest room or copies in the waiting room at a doctor’s office.

Individual use circulation is defined as copies intended for individuals who requested the magazine or are part of eligible list-type sources, which are made up of individuals who are likely to have an affinity for the magazine’s content. Examples of individual use circulation include individuals who request a free magazine subscription or individuals who receive a magazine as a benefit of an organizational membership.


What is Analyzed Nonpaid Circulation?

Other nonpaid circulation may be classified as analyzed nonpaid circulation if it includes:

  • List Sources:Circulation served to individual recipients where names have been obtained from a list, directory or similar resource. This is different from eligible list-type sources where there is commonality among the list members.
  • Market Coverage Copies: Nonpaid distribution served to recipients known by address only.
  • Delivered with Host Products: Circulation delivered to recipients as an insert into another publication.
  • Nonpaid Bulk Copies: Copies delivered to designated locations for redistribution to recipients unknown to the publisher. Examples include copies distributed at trade shows or available for free pick up at retail locations.

If you’re interested in more details about nonpaid magazine circulation, please view the following:

If you are a publisher and would like to have a specific program reviewed or just need further clarification on magazine circulation, please contact AAM.


Topics: Magazine Media, Data, Ask AAM, Reporting

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