ABC Expands Digital Magazine Circ Reporting

The Audit Board of Circulations is introducing a new report format that will offer significantly more detail on consumer magazines’ digital publications, incorporating several recommendations from a combined task force of U.S. and Canadian publishers and advertisers.

The new Publisher’s Statement prototype should provide media buyers with greater detail on print and digital magazine subscriptions and single-copy sales, says the ABC board. Principally, when a publication’s digital editions constitute over 2% of its total circ (and average at least 3,000 copies), the publisher must report net digital circ by platform type, including Web, apps and multiplatform offer.

The new report format requires publishers to report several key metrics for digital magazine consumption via tablet apps and Web browsers, including the number of unique browsers or devices, total visits and average visit duration.

In addition, the new rules dictate that only one platform out of a bundled subscription can be counted toward the total circ; for example, if a magazine sold a digital sub, including a tablet app, a smartphone app and Web access, this would count as one paid sub when calculating circulation.



The organization also decided that only digital replica editions may count toward total average circ. Non-replica brand extensions can be reported using ABC’s Consolidated Media Report.

Some big magazine publishers are already moving to offer advertisers and media buyers more insight into their growing digital circulation.

Earlier this month, Conde Nast revealed that it will begin sharing information with advertisers, including the number of tablet subscriptions and single-copy sales, open rates for the tablet edition, and the amount of time spent with the digital magazine by readers. Advertisers that pay extra for premium ads can get more information, including how many readers accessed the ad, the number of times it was displayed, and average time spent with the ad.

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