Volume 34, Number 4, April 1999

 

ISSUE AT HAND

The Full Story

by Debra Levy

If you read this column regularly, you know how much I hate wasting it on promotional hype rather than on news and insights. There is so much going on this month—the sale of Harmon Contract to Cupples, the pending acquisition of CP Films by Solutia and Harding’s temporary application of the brakes to its acquisition program—that it truly pains me to use this space for anything else. But the publisher of one of our competitors has devoted an entire column to self-promotion challenging our dominance as the "largest circulation of any glass magazine." This self-promotion is so misleading that I feel I must respond. You can judge for yourself whether or not you think they have a right to use that title. I know USGlass does.

There are a few things that Glass neglected to tell you in their column proclaiming themselves as having the largest circulation.

First, they neglected to tell you that their claim is based on the circulation of the November 1998 issue—that’s right, one issue. Whether you look at the average qualified circulation during the last six months of 1998, the first six months or the average for the entire year, the circulation of USGlass is significantly larger, by more than 1,200, than that of Glass.

Here are the numbers, based on the BPA statements of June 1998 and December 1998 for both pubs:

Secondly, they neglected to tell you that circulation of their November 1998 issue is 13.5% (a full 2,503 copies) higher in circulation than the average of the other five issues reported. You can judge the stability of that circulation yourself, but BPA International (the agency that audits the circulation of both our publications) even has a special rule in place requiring disclosure of this extraordinary fact right on its statements. BPA says that anytime the circulation of a particular highlighted issue varies by more than ten percent from the

average of the other five issues in a six month period, a notation saying such must be included in the statement. And if you look at the last page of their publisher’s statement you’ll see that BPA required that this fact be highlighted. By contrast, the circulation of our November issue was only 1.6% higher than the average of the other five issues in the period, indicating a very stable circulation without a lot of haphazard changes.

Thirdly, they neglected to tell you that 3,568—a full 17%—of the "subscribers" they claim in that November issue have neither requested nor paid to receive the magazine, but rather, were mailed the issues on Glass magazine’s initiative. These copies were mailed to names taken from directories, purchased from lists etc. who have not otherwise personally requested the magazine. Only 6% of our subscribers are counted in this fashion. Further, 2,880 copies or 13.7% were sent to names purchased from Dun and Bradstreet lists—lists available to any for purchase by anyone who so chooses. You can judge for yourself as to how accurately the term "subscriber" applies to these names.

The difference then, is between a "one-hit wonder" (remember Milli Vanilli?) and an artist who has a string of gold records over the course of a career. At USGlass, we are dedicated to providing our readers with the best and most informative magazine around, and with providing our advertisers with the highest quality circulation over time. We don’t use cheap tricks or obscure the facts to do so.

So shame on them for trying it. Shame on them for wasting trees. And shame on them for thinking the industry is dumb enough to fall for it. Maybe there’s more chicory than coffee in that stuff they are drinking.

You’ll find more information about the three stories mentioned above on page 14 of this issue, but you won’t find them in the April issue of Glass anywhere. I continue in my belief that quality and service win over quantity and hype every time. I hope you share this vision.

-Deb


USG

Copyright 1999 Key Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.