The Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) for the UK and Ireland, announced, yesterday, rules to enable publishers to report digital editions on their existing ABC print certificates. These new rules, proposed by a special Cross Sector Digital Rules Working Group, were ratified by ABC Council at yesterday’s meeting for implementation from July 2004 onwards.

The Working Group, formed following the ABC Council decision in December 2003 to allow digital editions to be reported alongside the print edition, consisted of leading UK advertising buyers and publishing representatives from the following ABC Specialist Committees: National Newspapers, Regional Newspapers, Consumer Magazines and B2B Magazines. The Association of Online Publishers was also represented in the formation of the rules.

Whilst digital editions can now be reported on the print certificate, they cannot be included within the Average Net Circulation Figure. They will be reported separately. This reporting requirement is in line with most other ABC’s around the world.

The rules include four, clear, overarching principles that govern the auditing of digital editions. These are:

• Opting in – all digital edition copies claimed must be ‘opted in’ i.e. the individual subscriber must have personally requested the copy
• Entitlement to copy – the audit will prove the entitlement of the subscriber for the publication i.e. verifying the paid subscription or free request documentation
• Availability of copy – ABC will check during the audit period that the correct publication and issue was available for download or view
• Notification of copy (some categories of free copies only) – the audit will include verification of the notification to the subscriber of the availability of a new digital edition

As digital editions are de-duplicated with the print edition, the figures reported on the ABC certificate demonstrate the additional circulation they provide. An extra audited statement can also be included at the publishers request to show the percentage of the Average Net Circulation (print) also opting to receive the digital edition.

The full set of rules for digital editions is available from the ABC website at

Chris Boyd, Chief Executive, ABC, comments:

“The rules governing digital editions have been agreed following consensus reached by the Cross Sector Digital Rules Working Group. This group was formed following an extensive review by senior buyers and sellers into the reporting of digital editions. So the process over the past 12 months or so, has been very thorough and has involved representatives from throughout the media industry.

By introducing these rules, publishers can ensure that they are providing advertisers and media buyers with data on both their print and digital editions’ circulation that is both totally transparent and comparable.”

For further information please contact:
Lara Leventhal
020 7927 9978

Published on: 12:00AM on 11th June 2004