Magazine bosses unite against NatMags'move on monthly data

Magazine chiefs have come out against calls to publish monthly circulation figures after the National Magazine Company broke ranks to release the data.

NatMags published retrospective figures for all of its titles last week, and chief executive Duncan Edwards suggested others should do the same.

Magazines currently release six-monthly data validated by the Audit Bureau of Circulation. The NatMags monthly data is not ABC audited.

The Periodical Publishing Association, which represents nearly 400 publishing houses, said this week it had “no plans” to change its position on the issue.

But magazine executives have hinted that the move will be carefully watched, while a spokesman for BBC Magazines said the company would be willing to publish the figures provided other organisations did so too.

He added: “We are all for more transparency and if the industry thinks this is a good thing then we’d do it.”

PPA chairman Nicholas Coleridge, managing director of Condé Nast, said: “The National Magazine Company’s test of more frequent figures – and agencies usage of the increased data – will be watched with with interest by media, agencies and clients alike.

“The PPA position on auditing of individual issues is that the extra costs involved could result in a rise in the cost of advertising, both through potential rate re-negotiations and also the increased cost of auditing.

“This would disadvantage magazines against other media through making advertising in magazines more expensive.”

He continued: “Magazines already report more information based in general on fewer numbers of issues than newspapers. Submitting ourselves to issue by issue ABC auditing would pile on audit and administration costs.

“National Magazines has announced it will provide a retrospective publisher statement, which is a very different issue from an independently audited analysis.”

Rival publishers are said to be unhappy with NatMags’ decision to release the figures without consulting the PPA.

Sylvia Auton, chief executive of IPC Media, said: “Where changes are necessary they should be discussed and agreed by all stakeholders, and not introduced in an abrupt and destabilising way.”


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