In order to accommodate multi-tasking reading devices like the iPad, the board of the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) recently modified its definition of a digital magazine in the U.S. and Canada. With regards to the new standards, a replica digital edition must now include a print edition’s full editorial content and advertising, but it no longer needs to be in a layout that is identical to the print version.
Last March, the ABC board and the Newspaper Association of America created an industry task force to study the evolution of newspapers and the growing numbers of media channels that were available to advertisers. These channels included ebook readers like the Amazon Kindle. The task force was created to specifically determine how ABC should measure, audit, and report the expanding audience due to technology.
“ABC’s action is good news and a timely step forward for both publishers and advertisers in advance of the iPad launch,” said Brenda White, senior vice president of publishing activation at Starcom and an ABC board member.
“It’s encouraging to see magazines expanding their brands and taking advantage of new technology. It will take some time, but I’m confident that e-readers and other mobile devices are going to become important channels for marketers to engage with their audiences,” she added.
The new reports on media technology will include:
• Ereader distribution averages;
• Mobile app purchases;
• Total paid and verified subscriptions emanating from multiple newspaper products;
• A new “Publishing Plan” executive summary box on the first page, noting frequency, delivery platforms, and distribution methods across a publisher’s various print and electronic editions.
• Continued use of Audience-FAX, the 2007 initiative that allows U.S. newspapers to report print and online readership figures, as well as Web site and audience data from comScore, Nielsen Online, Omniture, or other sources audited by ABC Interactive.
These options will be available to publications beginning October 1, 2010. This is an important change because up until now the ABC has not audited digital magazines. Some advertisers won’t consider placing ads with magazines that aren’t audited by the ABC. This is a positive step in the right direction for the support of ereader technology and ebook readers like the Kindle and Sony Reader are right in the midst of the industry’s progress.