Has Fairfax overstated its audit figures?

There is an interesting debate going on now over allegations that Fairfax may have overstated their audited sales figures.

The claim is that Fairfax may have exploited a ruling in the current audit system where many sales of newspapers to educational institutions maybe counted as regular subscriptions if they are distributed to an individual whose name and address is known. The result according to the allegations is that Fairfax have overstated their sales by 25%.

An example might be those Fairfax newspapers being essentially given away in universities.

Fairfax have denied this and claim that these allegations are absurd, misleading and wrong and made an interesting quote, I thought when they stated that

"The Age's subscriptions and audit practices are fully and totally within the Audit Bureau of Circulation rules,"

Interesting as no-one has claimed that Fairfax ever broke the Audit Bureau of Circulation rules.

The advertisers have asked that the Audit Bureau of Circulations investigate these allegations and they have stated that they want this loophole shut down.

It will be interesting to see what Fairfax's circulation is stated in the next round of ABC circulation figures.