The issue of “Bulk Sales” is being feverously discussed across the pond due to some six national titles having to revise their monthly circulation figures downwards. This happened when the ABC noticed that the claimed bulk figures for the titles were higher than the the actual – you can read more in the Media Guardian on the topic.
But what’s the level of bulks here and who uses them? The answer is a little difficult as the reporting of circulation figures for the those who (kindly enough) release monthly data differs slightly from those who report six monthly. The only level ground between the two reports is that they all report the number of copies that they sell at the “basic cover price”, so that’s what I used as a comparison.
The gap between the Average Net per issue and copies sold at BCP is made up primarily of bulks, but also includes newstrade at below BCP, issue specific bulks and copies sold outside the Republic and the UK. Some papers have a much larger subscription base than others and that has a tendency to distort the picture slightly.
But for a quick analysis the table below gives an indication of the usage of bulks. The copies that are below BCP are ones that are usually found cluttering up the reception areas of hotels etc. The circulation breakdown shows where these copies end up – airlines and hotels being the big recipients.
|Title||Circ||@BCP||% @ BCP|
|The Daily Telegraph||3,273||3,273||0.0%|
|Sunday Business Post||57,783||57,320||0.8%|
|Daily Star – Sunday||57,245||51,863||9.4%|
|News of the World||136,916||136,916||0.0%|
|The Mail on Sunday||101,031||100,511||0.5%|
|Independent on Sunday||1,963||1,963||0.0%|
|The Sunday Telegraph||2,773||2,773||0.0%|
|The Sunday Times||111,584||111,584||0.0%|
Some papers have a huge reliance on bulks. Of the 152,204 copies claimed as circulation, the Irish Independent had 17,905 (12%) as regular bulks and 3,858 (2.5%) at newstrade but below BCP (subscriptions?).