I’ve been a subscriber to BRW magazine
since the late nineties. When my (then current) sub expired this June,
I decided not to renew it – I read a lot of newspapers, mags, books
(and now Crikey!) and I just couldn’t justify finding the $185 and the
time each week to read the mag.

So I ignored BRW‘s
letters on the subject of my renewal and just assumed that the mag
would pretty soon stop arriving in my letterbox each week. But still it
came.

I finally got a call from their membership dept (in, I
think, August) asking me whether I’d forgotten to renew my sub. I
explained to the young lady that I hadn’t forgotten but had chosen not
to renew.

At this point, I was not asked about my reasons for
that decision – nor was I given the opportunity of a gift of some
description as an incentive to renew. So a long-term subscriber decides
not to renew their sub, BRW calls them but then doesn’t seem to
have any interest in why they aren’t continuing the relationship with
the publication … go figure.

That, I assumed, would be the end
of that. But still each Thursday the week’s edition would appear
courtesy of Australia Post in my letterbox.

Then in
mid-September I think it was, I received a standard form letter from
the Editor telling me that they had continued to send me the magazine
(as a long-time subscriber) based on the assumption that I may have
forgotten to renew, but that the current week’s edition would be the
very last they would send unless I renewed.

Of course, I did
nothing and still they continue to arrive each week. I don’t have the
time to read them, so I’ve been passing them (unread) to a colleague
since July.

The interesting thing is that the colleague I’ve been giving BRW to
now tells me that he overheard a conversation in his local shopping
mall between two blokes who each were having the same experience with BRW. Both expiring subscribers who were continuing to receive BRWs each week…

CRIKEY:
The Audit Bureau of Circulations insists there are no newspaper or
magazine circulation rorts in Australia, and that the plethora of
allegations made by Crikey readers over the past five months have no
substance because they are unspecific and anonymous. Well not today.

So here’s a challenge to the ABC and its chairman Stephen Hollings. Send an independent auditor in to BRW to
find out how many copies of the magazine are being “sold” to former
subscribers who don’t pay but continue to receive the magazine “based
on the assumption that I may have forgotten to renew.”

Of
course the ABC won’t investigate this and the dozens of other
allegations made in Crikey this year. After all, they’re unspecific
scurrilous gossip and that don’t have a name attached to them. Except
this one is specific and has a real name attached to it. Investigating
this claim would be as easy as ABC – but it won’t happen, of course.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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