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Audit Bureau Of Circulations Endorses Meaningful Metrics On Digital Mags

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The Audit Bureau of Circulations is hoping to make its reporting more relevant to an e-reading age with a new set of standards requiring much more detailed reporting of digital magazine sales.

ABC’s board of directors has endorsed a new reporting format that would require large consumer magazine publishers to break down digital magazine subscriptions and single-copy sales by platform. Currently they report this info across all platforms, lumped under “digital.”

If passed, the new standards would not apply to everyone. Publishers whose digital editions make up more than two percent of circulation and average at least 3,000 copies would be required to break down circulation by platform — web and mobile browser editions, tablet and smartphone apps and multi-platform offers. This data would include the number of unique browsers or devices, total visits and average visit length. (Here’s an example of how a statement would look — PDF.)

Publishers would also be required to disclose the number of digital editions sold in bundles.

The proposed standards, which were suggested by a panel of advertisers and publishers after a year of meetings, will be voted on this July and, if passed, would start applying a year later — in July 2013. In other words, advertisers and reporters hungry for this info (ahem) won’t have it for awhile. Some publishers have taken steps to provide such data themselves — Condé Nast announced last week that it would start providing advertisers with more detailed metrics on tablet editions.