|New rules governing the way magazines report copy sales are designed to "future proof" the way print publications are audited, however they still fail to address the concerns of some advertisers.
While the Audit Bureau of Circulations will now make it mandatory for national and metropolitan newspapers to provide average day of the week sales figures from January next year, advertisers, led by the Australian Association of National Advertisers has been calling for daily specific sales data which are not included under the new rules.
Other changes to the system will enable newspapers and magazines to release issue specific sales figures as well as being able to release average data for newspaper and weekly magazines on a monthly basis.
However Paul Dovas, CEO at the ABC told B&T that those titles choosing more frequent reporting options will have to commit to it for a full year and the comparison of sales figure will still be based on quarterly data in the case of newspapers and weekly magazines and six monthly figures for monthly magazines.
The rules have also been tightened around education sales and copies sold at vastly reduced rates to hotels and airlines which will now be split into two categories, accommodation and hotels; and airline sales. But Dovas said despite these copies not being sold at full price, they will still be included as part of a title's overall average net paid sales figure. Data on subscription numbers will also be available.
The ABC said it is also ready to start auditing the number of people who subscribe to access content that is behind a pay wall, which could be combined with paper sales figures and released from the start of 2011. The Australian is the only newspaper to have announced plans to charge for elements of its online content.
"The rules that come into effect today show the evolutionary nature of the ABC audited figures, which will continue with the future integration of new rules surrounding digital editions.
Further rule changes to address the issue of digital reporting will be put to the ABC general committee for agreement in coming months," Dovas told B&T.