AUSTRALIAN publishers can now take verified digital sales figures to market, after Audit Bureau of Circulations members agreed to pass historic changes to their rules.
Newly introduced metrics will report of sales of digital versions of newspapers and magazines and stand-alone digital publications.
In what ABC chief executive Paul Dovas has called a world first, the reporting will feature a de-duplicated Average Total Paid Masthead Sales metric, which will also include insights into print-only sales, digital-only sales and packaged print and digital subscription sales.
Mr Dovas said the new rules, which come into effect from today, represented the most significant change to media reporting in Australia since the creation of the ABC in 1932.
“The new metrics recognise the emergence of digital publishing and in particular the changing nature of how masthead-branded content, in the form of text and images, is consumed across print and digital platforms,” said Dovas.
ABC chairman Stephen Hollings said in a statement: “The new rules will literally redefine media reporting in Australia, providing the media industry with a de-duplicated figure of total masthead branded content sales. This is a landmark change that responds to the needs of media buyers and advertisers.”
The new reporting will provide media buyers with insights into the sales of digital versions of print publications and standalone digital publications, including separate reporting for replica digital versions, tablet and subscribers to paid website versions.
A sub-committee of magazine, newspaper, advertiser and media buyer representatives, including members from the Media Federation of Australia (MFA), the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA), and magazine and newspaper publishers, undertook the wide-ranging review.
Simon Davies, head of print at OMD Sydney and the MFA representative on the ABC sub-committee, said: “With the introduction of these rules, ABC members have recognised the evolution of print media and the growing sales of digital formats. With this more granular sales data, advertising agencies and clients will be able to make better informed buying decisions.”
With the new rules coming into effect for the January to March audit period, the first new audited sales data will be reported in the ABC’s data release on 11 May 2012.