New Scientist: one of the titles to be audited by Boyd
The Audit Bureau of Circulations has agreed to include all e-publications on its certificates, following lengthy talks with magazine and newspaper publishers.
The move will affect all digital editions of newspapers and magazines which readers access directly on their desktops – not website versions, which are normally in a different format.
ABC has agreed to include full breakouts on ABC certificates for all sectors and promised to conduct further research into the popularity of e-publications.
The issue of whether to include readership figures from electronic editions has been raised several times by publishers this year. According to ABC, more and more UK publishers are distributing digital editions, particularly in B2B publishing.
ABC set up a cross-sector group chaired by its chief executive Chris Boyd to monitor the issue and make recommendations on how the websites could impact on measurement and data reporting.
To ensure clarity, the council has announced that while such copies can be audited and presented alongside print copies on certificates, they should not be included in the headline figure until further research into their use by readers has been conducted. Any inclusion of digital editions on ABC certificates across all sectors would be subject to stringent audit rules that will now be developed for approval by ABC council, it said.
The council said it will begin research into the reading of e-publications in the B2B sector in the first quarter of next year, specifically to find out if the advertisements have the same opportunity to be seen in print copy.
The council has also agreed that ABC should review the presentation of ABC figures on certificates.
Once the research is completed, a policy statement will be issued and a seminar arranged to raise buyer awareness and knowledge of digital copies.
Boyd said: “ABC is committed to driving this initiative for the industry and will ensure the rules for e-publications continue to be in line with industry needs. Other ABCs around the world are also working to the same principles,” he added.
By Ruth Addicott