Wed, May 28, 2008 - Page 4 News List

Taiwan in race for audit organization

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwan is likely to become a member of an international audit organization for publication circulation next week, a decision pending the final approval of the organization's General Assembly in November, a board member of the organization told the Taipei Times in an exclusive interview yesterday.

Glenn Hansen, who is also the president and chief executive officer of BPA Worldwide, said that this year two countries in Asia had shown interest in becoming members of the International Federation of Audit Bureaux of Circulations (IFABC).

The two applicants are Taiwan and China.

While Taiwan will use the name Chinese Taipei ABC, Beijing will use the Sino Publication Audit Center.

Hansen said any organization in Asia wishing to become a member of IFABC’s regional group — the Asia Pacific ABC — must have their application approved the first.

The regional group is scheduled to meet in Bali, Indonesia, next week. The group meets once or twice a year.

For Taiwan’s application, Hansen said the group had already been formed and that it was interested in becoming a member of the international federation. He said he was optimistic this would happen.

He said the group representing Taiwan had been working on the case for two years and that it would put the application before the global membership meeting in Mexico in November during the General Assembly, when a vote on the application would take place, he said.

Only two newspapers in Taiwan — the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper) and the Apple Daily — have their circulation audited by the IFABC. For the first quarter this year, the daily circulation of the Liberty Times was 703,630, or about 200,000 more than that of the Apple Daily.

In 2004, the Government Information Office sought to hire a non-profit private organization to study the basic structural elements of the print media, including circulation, readership and financial resources. However, outcry forced the government to abandon the plan because some media outlets argued that such a move would reveal sensitive information to the public and subsequently affect advertising volume.

Hansen said he did not know what happened four years ago, but that the government should not play any role in the sector because less government regulation is better.

The Audit Bureau of Circulations was formed in 1914 by advertisers, advertising agencies and publishers in the US as a voluntary cooperative program. In the 1920s and 1930s, several other countries established similar organizations.

Founded in 1963, IFABC is a voluntary cooperative federation of industry-sponsored organizations established to verify and report facts about the circulations of publications and related data.

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