Combined figures report is step forward, says ABC

A single readership figure across a media brand's different platforms isn't top of publishers' agendas, according to ABC.

Martyn Gates, director of newspapers and consumer magazines at ABC, spoke to Press Gazette as the independent auditor this week launched a new Group Product Report which combines print figures and web readership statistics from ABC Electronic.

Gates said: "Those discussions about diverging media are ongoing because there aren't easy answers.

"But what we have done here is an important step because instead of waiting until you get nirvana, what can you do in-between?

"If you are doing all these things, let's bring them together so at least they are there in one place and at least then the conversation can be had."

Gates admitted that the launch was more a change in presentation rather than content because the individual certificates had already existed, but that the single report aided "usability".

An 18-page sample report compiled by ABC combines the historic data, charts, visual summaries and information already included on the individual certificates.

BBC Magazines, which uses both ABC and ABCe to audit, said that it welcomed the combined certificate approach.

A spokesman said: "We do use ABCe to audit our websites separately and have a separate certificate for those, so we welcome the idea of a combined certificate showing combined reach."

The relevance of the ABC figure in judging a brand's performance has come under increasing scrutiny as titles move into multi-platforms.

BBC Magazines said the recent ABC print results "did not do justice" to titles on a number of platforms.

A spokesman added: "Combining the ABCe figures for these websites with the actual magazine sales figures would present a more accurate picture of their respective success."

Gates said that the problem was comparing like with unlike. "I don't think people think about, say, the Cosmopolitan exhibition, website and magazine as one coherent thing," he said.

"That might be the case in two or three years, but that's the nature of the beast; things are changing. Bringing those things together seems to be a good solution along the road."

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