Newspapers use one form to report print, digital subscribers


By Max Heath
National Newspaper Association

The U.S. Postal Service will allow electronic subscriptions to be reported with print subscribers on one form starting in October.

The National Newspaper Association has confirmed that the updated Postal Service Form 3526, State­ment of Ownership, Manage­ment and Circulation, is scheduled for release in hard copy and in the PostalOne postage payment system in September for the Oct. 1 filing date.

Newspapers that use Form 3526 to show circulations to advertisers will now have one complete form available.

Although this was the way NNA envisioned it when asking for this rule change almost a decade ago, bureaucratic snafus, release schedules, and personnel retirements at the U.S. Postal Service all combined to thwart efforts even after approval three years ago.

The Postal Service says the updated form is scheduled for use starting Sept. 7, according to Brad Hill, president of Interlink Software and National Newspaper Association representative on the Mailers’ Technical Advisory Committee.

This means that Form 3526-X, which was required in 2012 and 2013 to report electronic subscriptions as an addendum, will now be a third page of the previous Form 3526. Form 3526-X will cease to exist.

For paid newspapers, there will be one unified 3526 with print and electronic subscriber reporting.

Likewise, for requester periodicals, there will be a unified 3526-R for print and e-requesters.

Both hardcopy forms are already posted on the Postal Explorer website. Select Forms 3526 and 3526-R dated July 2014.

The new form allows combining the total paid print and electronic copies for both “Issue closest to filing date” and “Average copies for previous 12 months.”

This new form achieves the National Newspaper Association’s goal to get recognition for electronically-fulfilled subscriptions or requester copies added for those newspapers for whom the Statement of Ownership is their legal proof of circulation for advertisers, advertising agencies and public notices.

The change will include accessibility of a single automated online form that can be completed electronically via PostalOne.