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New ABC digital sales Rules redefine media reporting in Australia

28 Mar 2012

Members of the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) this week endorsed historic changes to their Rules which will see new metrics introduced for the reporting of sales of digital versions of newspapers and magazines and stand-alone digital publications.

In 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.

ABC chief executive Paul 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 Dr Stephen Hollings said: "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, enhanced digital versions (tablets) and subscribers to paid website versions.

The ABC's traditional print reporting remains unaffected, maintaining its heritage and continuity.

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."

AANA chief executive, Scott McClellan also welcomed the launch of the new rules.

"The rules that come into effect today are a true game-changer that will provide greater transparency in media reporting and help advertisers gain a better understanding of the media with whom they are engaging," said McClellan.

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 11th May 2012.

In the meantime, the ABC will be running a series of training workshops to educate members about the new rules. Members are invited to contact the ABC to request training by phone on (02) 9956 8220 or email at

Members will also find more information and supporting materials on the new rules at

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