Periodical Watchguard, LLC (PW) serves as an independent oversight and compliance review organization for the magazine industry. The mission of Periodical Watchguard is to make client members aware of compliance issues, diminish fraudulent offers of periodicals and to quantify the loss of consumer monies.
State of the Industry
According to the September 2005 issue of First Research magazine's quarterly report of the magazine industry profile, the U.S. publishing market consists of approximately 1,000 companies, with combined annual revenue of approximately $40 billion. Of the more than 18,800 magazines published annually, over 7,100 are consumer magazines. In 2004, publishers reported circulation of consumer magazines to be over 363 million, 84% of which was comprised of subscription sales and the remaining 14% from newsstand sales. That same year, circulation revenues comprised of 70% subscription and 30% newsstand sales.
Currently, statistical data regarding the quantification of fraudulent consumer dollars does not exist. However, the industry does recognize that rogue sellers and agents that misrepresent their titles have put a significant black mark on periodicals and journals.
In the late 1990's, the Magazine Publishers Association (MPA), with the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) knowledge, created guidelines for publishers to assist and aid in managing third party authorized sellers. Some several years later, the FTC, U.S. Postal Service and various Attorneys' General offices still acknowledge their concern with the prevalence of theft from the sale of consumer magazines and periodicals.