Newspaper sales figures can be kept private to prevent the “negative narrative of circulation decline”

Stephen Chapman's picture

The monthly ABC newspaper sales figures no longer need to be made public, following representations from publishers, agencies, advertisers and their trade bodies.

The ABC Board says the changes have been made to “create a balance” in how newspapers "tell their story of growth to the market.”

However, it also admitted that the rolling release of data throughout the month will address: “publisher concerns that monthly ABC circulation reports provide a stimulus to write a negative narrative of circulation decline.”

The changes mean that national publishers can now opt to have their reporting made public or kept private. Optional metrics can be reported in addition to mandatory metrics and there will no longer be a monthly Newsbrands report

“Keeping a JIC joined up sometimes requires compromise. However, all agree that the higher principle of independently audited figures to an agreed standard is critical and must be maintained. I believe ABC have protected this principal and found an agreed middle path,” stated Derek Morris, Chairman, ABC.

The ABC Board is made up of publishers, agencies, advertisers and their trade bodies.

“We fully support the changes announced by ABC today. These reporting updates will reduce the tendency for circulation to be seen as the only measure of Newsbrands’ health in our multi-platform age, whilst ensuring that the comparability and trustworthiness of ABC data remains available to buyers,” stated Phil Smith, Director General, ISBA.

The newspapers opting to take their data private will be named on the ABC website at midday.