These changes have been made to create a balance in how the national newspapers tell their story of growth to the market, says the ABC. At the same time, they ensure agencies and advertisers have access to trusted ABC data, supporting their ongoing and significant investment in national newsbrand print advertising.
In summary (further details below), the changes that have been agreed by the ABC Board (including publishers, agencies, advertisers and their trade bodies) are:
- National newspaper publishers can now opt for public or private reporting
- Optional metrics can be reported in addition to mandatory metrics
- There will no longer be a monthly Newsbrands report
Phil Smith, Director General, ISBA: “We fully support the changes announced by ABC today. These reporting updates will reduce the tendency for circulation to be seen as the only measure of Newsbrands’ health in our multi-platform age, whilst ensuring that the comparability and trustworthiness of ABC data remains available to buyers.”
Belinda Beeftink, Research Director, the IPA: “Our members spend millions on Newsbrand print advertising each year, and it’s important their buying decisions are underpinned by industry standard data. The new reporting changes facilitated by ABC will allay publisher concerns and simultaneously ensure the continued provision of objective, independent data. Only through this kind of measurement can agencies and their clients feel certain they’re getting what they pay for.”
Derek Morris, Chairman, ABC: “Keeping a JIC joined up sometimes requires compromise. However, all agree that the higher principle of independently audited figures to an agreed standard is critical and must be maintained. I believe ABC have protected this principle and found an agreed middle path.”
More detail on the changes:
1. National newspaper publishers can now opt for public or private reporting.
Public reporting – Where ‘public’ is chosen, arrangements remain as they currently are. This means ABC will publish a title’s certificate on its website and include it in the Data Hub and data feeds (e.g. Mediatel) as usual.
Private reporting - If a publisher chooses private reporting:
* Publishers will have their circulation figures audited to industry standards via ABC
* The publication of circulation figures is under the control of the publisher.
* ABC’s website will show:
o That the title is certified by ABC
o That the publisher has chosen to manage their ABC data themselves
o A contact at the publisher from whom ABC certificates can be requested
o The date of the most recent certificate issued to the publisher
* In ABC’s Data Hub, titles reporting privately will be listed as ABC-certified with an indication that the data is held by the publisher.
2. Optional metrics can be reported in addition to mandatory metrics
Publishers can now report optional metrics in addition to the mandatory metrics required by ABC reporting. This approach maintains the comparability that ABC data provides, whilst allowing publishers to create the sales narrative that fits their strategy.
3. There will no longer be a monthly Newsbrands report
There will now be a rolling release of data throughout the month as publishers submit their figures to ABC. This addresses publisher concerns that monthly ABC circulation reports provide a stimulus to write a negative narrative of circulation decline, whilst continuing to ensure the data is available for agencies and advertisers who use it to buy print advertising.