ABC Board Approves New Audit Program for Smaller Canadian Newspapers
Endorses Broader Reporting of Digital Magazine Metrics, Freezes Rates for Fifth Consecutive Year
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (July 26, 2011)—At its meeting last week, the ABC board of directors approved a new service that will lower costs and simplify the audit process for Canadian newspapers with circulations below 30,000. Available on Oct. 1, the “Canadian Audit Program 30,” or CAP30, features a more flexible, cost-effective audit approach for smaller circulation newspapers, including:
- All-inclusive, flat-rate pricing beginning at $2,500 per year
- Off-site audits conducted biennially
- Simplified reports and audit procedures
- Inclusion in FAS-FAX and ABC’s online database for media planners and buyers
- Flexible billing options
The board also approved a new report format for all other Canadian newspapers. Effective with September 2011 statements, the revised prototype reflects a more streamlined approach to reporting circulation data. The updated report is the first step in a broader industry initiative to enhance ABC’s Canadian newspaper reports with key digital metrics and more user-friendly features.
“ABC continues to provide innovative audit programs and reports that serve the evolving needs of the Canadian marketplace,” noted Joan Brehl, ABC’s vice president and general manager in Canada. “We’re thrilled to offer a cost-effective audit to smaller newspapers under ABC’s gold standard.”
Other Key Newspaper Actions
Acknowledging the popularity of ABC’s Consolidated Media Report and its wide-ranging benefits for newspapers and buyers, the board directed that a U.S. and Canadian joint buyer/seller task force be formed to develop recommendations for adopting the CMR as the organization’s core report format. The all-encompassing report is designed to reflect the growth of print media brands and their multiple distribution channels. Current newspaper CMRs have featured paid circulation, free distribution, social media metrics, website traffic and mobile data.
The board finalized several changes governing digital editions of U.S. newspapers. Beginning Oct. 1, newspapers that sell single-price subscription bundles that include digital platforms must regularly verify subscriber access to qualify the digital subscriptions as paid. This is not necessary when readers pay an incremental price of at least five percent for each additional digital platform. Details are available on ABC’s website.
Additionally, U.S. newspaper statements in March 2012 will begin to report a new metric, “total consumer accounts,” to represent a newspaper’s unique customer accounts.
For Canadian newspapers, the board also voted to exclude third-party sales from the paid circulation calculation that determines membership eligibility.
Key Magazine Actions
The board received an update on the work of a group of magazine publishers and buyers tasked with developing auditing and reporting standards that address a publishing brand’s total media footprint. The objectives include:
- Encouraging magazines to adopt ABC’s Consolidated Media Report to provide a broader array of audited print and digital usage metrics across platforms and devices.
- Creating a new, more contemporary Publisher’s Statement that prominently summarizes print and digital circulation.
- Expanding digital metrics on ABC reports to reflect user interaction. Such metrics might include access rates, visits and time spent across devices and operating systems.
- Revising rules for bundled subscriptions to accurately reflect the growing use of this consumer-marketing program.
- A commitment to report more timely data for digital publications and apps.
The board endorsed the group’s strategy and anticipates receiving more concrete recommendations at its November meeting.
The board also agreed that small-space advertisements such as classified ads and those one-third of a page or smaller do not need to be reproduced in the digital version of a magazine for it to qualify as a replica copy.
Other Key Board Actions
The ABC board agreed to freeze audit rates and prices in 2012, the fifth consecutive year without an increase in fees.
The board also announced the appointment of two new directors: Stacy Boone, media manager at Target Corporation, representing U.S. advertisers, and Sara Hill, president of M2 Universal, representing Canadian advertising agencies.
The board also elected Scott Heekin-Canedy, president and general manager of The New York Times, to serve as treasurer. Heekin-Canedy replaces retiring treasurer Brian Segal of Rogers Publishing.
The ABC board of directors meeting was held July 20-22 in Asheville, N.C. For a complete summary of board actions, visit ABC’s Virtual Pressroom.
ABC is a forum of North America's leading magazine and newspaper publishers, advertisers and advertising agencies. The organization provides credible, verified information essential to the media buying and selling process. ABC maintains the world’s foremost online database of audited circulation information and a growing array of readership, audience and website usage data. ABC’s digital arm, ABC Interactive, is one of the world’s leading independent auditors of websites and digital ad-based technology. To learn more, visit http://www.accessabc.com.
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