How do newspapers and magazines “create” circulation out of thin air,
and then include those free or almost-free copies as “paid circulation”
in their “audited” figures – figures which are signed off by a senior
auditor, verified by a senior company executive, and officially
sanctioned by the Audit Bureau of Circulations? More Crikey readers
have sent us their own experiences of how it works.

From a NSW reader:

When my high school returned on Wednesday, there was around two pallets’ worth of Daily Telegraphs sitting in a corner.

From a Queensland footy fan:

Outside the ‘Gabba last Sunday, after the Lions/Eagles game, there were small tents erected containing stacks and stacks of Sunday Mails
which were being put into plastic bags and given to departing patrons.
I am not sure what the attendance was, but there must have been at
least 30,000 people there.

From a student:

Please lay off The Oz‘s readership rorts. I have paid $15 for a year’s worth of The Australian, including delivery on weekends. That works out to be about 5 cents per paper. I still believe it’s overpriced.

And
from an industry insider who explains how “a lot of readers live in
industrial dump bins out the back of major grocery stores”:

As
a past mag allocation person, circulation “discrepancies” by
subscription is the small part and easily identified. Allocation to
direct stores provides licence to “control supply” whenever. Oversupply
and allocation of non-ranged titles with the excuse “oh, it was an IT
glitch” are common. A lot of readers live in industrial dump bins out
the back of major grocery stores. Ask any newsagent if they receive
adequate and professional responses from distributors when supply on
titles are increased or decreased – call the Australian Newsagent
Federation for its response on behalf of that industry.

Peter Fray

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Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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