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New Audit Change Sparks Debate Amongst Publishers

30 Jun 2009

The Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) has updated its Rules by introducing a new category of reporting in Average Net Paid Sales and some operational amendments that were the result of a ballot endorsed by members in June and effective from July 1, 2009.


The introduction of the ‘Bundled Sales' category addresses changes in consumer marketing and purchasing patterns, specifically where customers are offered in one transaction the opportunity to buy two or more products. The ABC believes this will provide the industry with greater understanding of consumer behaviour while delivering total transparency of the overall impact on Average Net Paid Sales.


The new category will meet the same stringent audit requirements, which underpin the ABC's Average Net Paid Sales and will be reported as a percentage pf Average Net Paid Sales alongside the existing categories of Accommodation & Airline Sales, Education Sales, Education Sales, Event Sales and Multiple Publication Sales.


Gordon Towell, ABC CEO explained, "The introduction of this new category of reporting, endorsed by members, ensures ABC's reporting of paid sales increases in relevance and reflects the changing media marketplace."


There has been some negativity from publishers as quoted in The Australian in which publishers opposed to the change argue that it would reduce the quality of the standards of circulation in Australia. Pacific Magazines said, "We would argue that there are adequate avenues to include circulation which may have some value to advertisers but do not qualify as average net paid sales (ANPS) under the rules. These circulations can be covered under average sales in the ABC rules or auditing under CAB (controlled circulation) rules."


Carol Morris, executive director of The Media Federation of Australia, whose organisation represents media buyers, said they support the changes, "We are definitely in favour of it. It has been a really good process. It gives you more transparency on the price."


The rules could give publishers new ways of putting discounted or free publications in the hands of consumers and still count them in net paid sales, if a number of audit conditions are met.


The changes were the result of industry wide consultation and discussion by members further clarifying the application of the Rules and adding greater rigour to the audit process.


The changes are effective as of the July to September 2009 audit period. The ABC will release the first audited figures using rhe updated Rules on the 10th November 2009.



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