Audit 101: Paragraph 1 of Your CVC Publication Audit

In order to get the most use out of your audit, it's important to understand the terminology used in your circulation audit report. Here are some details on the methodology behind paragraph 1, titled "Publication Information."

Paragraph 1 of the audit provides all the basic information used in evaluating your publication for a potential media buy. It provides everything media buyers tell us they need to make an informed buy, especially on short notice.

Average Net Circulation
Average net circulation appears at the top of your audit report because it is the most critical number to media buyers. Average net circulation is the average number of copies that actually get into the hands of potential readers during each circulation cycle. To determine net circulation, CVC subtracts returned or unclaimed copies of the publication from its gross distribution.

Number of Editions
This is the number of individual editions, zones or mastheads that contribute to the net press, distribution and circulation numbers reported on the audit. Editions usually carry the same flag name (i.e., Tribune), have adjoining circulation areas, and/or carry common advertising rates.

Format/Average Page Count
Format refers to the broadly defined size of the publication and may include broadsheet, tabloid, tabloid magazine, magazine, digest and directory as major categories. Page count reflects the average page count of the publication during the audit period.

Circulation Cycle
Circulation cycle is the frequency with which the publication is distributed and can be listed as daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annual or any other scheduled cycle frequency.

Circulation Day/Time
Circulation day is the day of the week that distribution ends, and time is the time of day distribution ends, rounded the nearest hour.

If the publication is affiliated with a larger publishing company or another corporate entity, it will be indicated in this section of the audit. Media buyers can sort the CVC database by ownership to find all audit clients by corporate affiliation.

Year Established
The year listed is the first year the publication was published. Year established is important to media buyers because many use caution when a publication is fewer than five years old.

Publication Type
CVC audits a variety of publications and this field defines the publication type by its target market or purpose. Designations include community newspaper, shopper, parenting publication, Hispanic publication, city and regional magazine, etc.

Content shows the percentage of the publication devoted to advertising and the percentage devoted to editorial content. These percentages are averages during the audit year. Although it's not entirely necessary to have editorial content to attract a regional or national buy, it certainly helps.

Circulation Unpaid/Paid/Sponsored
These percentages reflect the total number of copies unpaid, paid and sponsored, averaged out over the audit period. These percentages take all delivery methods into account and correspond to paragraph 5 on the audit report.

Primary Delivery Methods
These average percentages reflect the primary means used to distribute the publication, averaged across the audit period. Home delivery includes the percentage of copies delivered via employee or independent contract carrier and may include yard-, driveway-, porch- or tube-delivered editions. Mail delivery includes the percentage of copies delivered by the appropriate country's postal service. Controlled bulk delivery includes the percentage of copies delivered in bulk to rack and store locations and may also include deliveries to office buildings and other locations.

Insert Zoning Available
If insert zoning is available, you’ll see a "Yes" in this section, followed by the type of zoning available: ZIP code, county, route, address-specific or other. Publishers have a lot of influence over this section, and it's in their best interest to provide CVC with detailed information on insert options during the audit period. Buyers want to know if inserts are available and how they can be customized.

CVC Member Number
CVC assigns each publication a member number. Because so many papers have similar names, when calling CVC to discuss an audit, it's best to refer to a publication by its CVC member number.

A DMA is a designated market area, commonly known as a TV market and based on TV station viewing patterns. One county can be split into two DMAs. CVC determines the DMA based on the publication's ZIP code. There are 210 DMAs in the U.S., and the designated DMA cannot be changed by a publisher.

An MSA, or a metropolitan statistical area, is a subset of the DMA as determined by the federal government. An MSA usually represents an independent metropolitan area. CVC determines the MSA based on the publication ZIP code.

For more information about DMAs and MSAs, visit, where there is a link to glossary terms at the bottom of their home page.

Audit Funded By
The organization that pays for the audit is listed in this section. Almost 60 percent of CVC audits are funded by third parties, usually publishing associations. Third-party audits provide some distance between the publication and the audit company, but publisher-paid audits are also acceptable in the industry.

Watch for additional Audit 101 lessons in future issues of By The Numbers.

REMINDER: CVC Offers Free Custom Audit Training
CVC staff provide publishers and media buyers with free training to help interpret a CVC audit. CVC staff will customize a teleconference presentation for your publication. Please call 800-262-6392 to schedule your free training session.

< Back