The current circulation mess: Advertising Age has a special report on magazine circulation that is available as a .pdf download.
The current circulation model “is broken, for publishers and advertisers,” says Karen Jacobs, executive vice president of print at Publicis Groupe’s Starcom MediaVest Group, Chicago. “Circulation directors get focused on delivering the wrong goals. By that I mean the publisher goes out and makes a rate-base promise and then the circulation director has to deliver, no matter what it takes, because God forbid they underdeliver.” So what’s the way out? Nothing that’s simple or easy. There is no one silver bullet to magazines’ circulation woes. There is, also, no cheap way to do it. The solutions involve arduous trial and error among several options.