Combination sales and add-ons

Business/farm media paid promotional programs


AAM Rule D 8.4/E 8.4/D 108.4/E 108.4 Subscription/Single Copy Sales in Combination defines “combination sales” as the sale of two or more different publications together as a package and where the price for the combination package is less than the sum of what each publication may be purchased for separately.

“Add-ons” are defined as the addition of a new publication served in conjunction with the consumer’s existing subscription.

In situations where a publication consists chiefly of reference data rather than general reading material, premium requirements will apply, not combination sales.

As a reminder, AAM defines paid circulation as subscriptions and single copies paid at an amount of at least one cent, net of all considerations. See AAM Rule D 1.1/D 101.1 Paid Circulation.

A “consideration” is any item offered to the purchaser that may induce the sale of the publication. This includes, but is not limited to, free gifts and discounted products or services (e.g., advertising). Therefore, the amount paid by the purchaser of the publication must be at least one cent, after you subtract the market value of all of these inducements from the purchase price.


The following qualification requirements apply for combination sale subscriptions (when two or more publications are sold together as a package for less than they can be purchased separately):

  1. A minimum of one cent per publication must be collected, net of considerations.
  2. The contractual portion of the offer must identify the subscription term for all publications and total purchase price.
  3. None of the promotional materials may state or imply that any of the publications are free, no additional cost, no extra charge or synonymous language.
  4. The promotional materials reflecting the combination sale are not required to provide the consumer with an option to purchase each publication separately. However, subscriptions for each must be available for sale separately in the general consumer marketplace.

The amount of money allocated to each title in the combination sale, for purposes of any price classification, shall be based on the following:

  • Stated values - the value of each subscription in the sale if referenced on the solicitation (the sum of which must total the combination sales price).
  • Pro rata value – the allocation of the combinations sales price based on each publication’s annual suggested price or basic price.

The following qualification requirements apply for add-on subscriptions (when a new publication served in conjunction with the consumer’s existing subscription):

  • The individual is notified a second publication is being added at time of renewal.
  • A qualifying price is being paid for all publications in the sale.
  • Either of the following criteria are met:
    • The consumer must opt-in to the added publication by paying an incremental amount for the additional subscription or the option to reduce the amount paid if the subscriber chooses not to take the additional subscription.
    • When the consumer is not provided with the option to opt-in/opt-out of the additional subscription through incremental pricing, no reference or statement may be made in the promotion that infers the added publication be free or at no additional cost, or similar language.

The amount of money allocated to the add-on subscription is the amount charged incrementally if the additional publication is accepted or the amount reduced from the existing contract if additional publication is declined.

Single Copy

In a newsstand environment, the following qualification requirements apply for combination sales:

  1. The sale must comply with the “three-stack policy.” This means that each publication in the combination package must also be available for purchase separately at the same retail location where the combination sale is sold. This three-stack policy applies to all locations where the combination package is sold.
  2. The price at which each publication is sold separately must be less than the package price, but no less than one cent each.
  3. None of the promotional materials may state or imply that any of the publications are free, no additional cost, no extra charge or synonymous language.


The average copies served from combination sales and add-on programs are disclosed in paragraph 1A as “Individual.” Details of the programs must be reported in the explanatory paragraph of the publisher’s statement and audit report.