The Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) of North America is a non-profit circulation-auditing organization. It is one of several organizations, operating in different parts of the world, that audits circulation, readership, and audience information for the magazines, newspapers, and other publications produced by their members.
ABC is a forum of the magazine and newspaper publishers, advertisers and advertising agencies, similar to BPA Worldwide. As a non-profit association, ABC is funded by dues and service fees by advertisers, advertising agencies and publishers. ABC provides credible, verified information critical to the media buying and selling process by conducting independent, third-party audits of print circulation, readership and Web site activity. ABC also maintains an electronic database of audited circulation and readership media.
At the turn of the 20th century, publishers were ungoverned. A practice of inflating circulation figures to win advertising dollars was common. With little recourse, advertisers were forced to buy advertising based on exaggerated circulation claims.
Determined to end deceptive industry practices, advertisers, advertising agencies and responsible publishers banded together to establish an industry organization to independently verify circulation. In 1914, ABC was created.
ABC is governed by a tripartite board of directors composed of 17 publishers and 19 advertisers and advertising agencies. The board meets three times a year (March, July and November) to review existing rules, establish new rules and consider member requests.
ABC also has 14 advisory committees. The advisory committees meet throughout the year and discuss member-initiated topics. The committees consider the topics and make recommendations to the ABC board of directors.
Membership is open to all publishers, advertisers and advertising agencies. Additionally, any individual, firm or corporation who requires access to circulation data may apply for an associate membership.