 Audit Bureaux of Australia launches Single Brand Summary data screens and warns industry of trouble ahead

Releases first web audit data for more than 20 publisher sites and announces ABC audit results

Media buyers, agencies and publishers are a step closer to auditing nirvana with the launch of Brand Summary screens by the Audit Bureaux of Australia (ABA). The screens, which are available to all ABA members, provide a single view of print, digital, website and email newsletter circulation figures, allowing media buyers to accurately compare and consider credible audited data.

The launch of the Brand Summary screens comes just two months after the launch of ABA’s Web Audit Service which delivers independently verifiable web audience data. Already more than 20 publisher sites representing an audience of over 400,000 Australians per month have signed up for the Web Audit Service which incorporates email newsletter and digital publication audit services. Fairfax Business Media, IDG Communications, Universal Magazines, Intermedia Group and Rank Publishing are amongst the publishers who will be audited.

The first month’s Web Audit Service data is now available online for ABA members.

According to Gordon Towell, CEO of ABA, interest in the Web Audit Service is strong and with the current discussions around charging for content online he expects a significant increase in the number of publishers agreeing to be audited.

“We’re delighted to see a broad range of quality publishers from both the mid and long tail sign up for the audit services. The first data set has shown minimal audience duplication between these sites, proving the inherent niche targeting opportunities for advertising. Our goal is now to increase our membership and extend it into the larger publishers and we anticipate there will be considerable interest in our Web Audit services from publishers who are striving to provide total transparency into their circulation data to justify their plans to charge for online content.

“At present web traffic data is too easily manipulated which makes it particularly difficult for media buyers and advertisers. Without third party verification of the data I anticipate we’ll see online advertising decline in those sites that attempt to charge for content,” said Mr Towell.

According to Kerry Field – Partner Innovation at Mindshare and MFA Digital Sub Committee Chair, the online industry is making great strides towards ensuring audience measurement is as accurate and inclusive as possible and the Web Audit Service is an important component of this.

“Media agencies need absolute visibility of all of the opportunities in the market place, yet we are increasingly questioning the authenticity of un-audited data provided by publishers. ABA’s Web Audit Service provides us with a new level of confidence in the data and those sites that are audited will undoubtedly receive increased consideration by planners and buyers,” said Ms Field.

A diverse range of magazine categories are now being audited by ABA’s Web Audit Service including B2B, Consumer, Technology, Finance, News, Lifestyle, Street Press and Events. These audited sites are also now appearing in Nielsen’s Market Intelligence system which can be viewed by digital agencies.

The ABA’s Audit Bureau of Circulations has also released the print circulation results for the 13-week period April to June and half-year January to June 2009.

Gordon Towell commented: “Overall the Australian print circulation market has held up particularly well compared to other parts of the world where print is experiencing circulation decreases of between six to seven percent and up to 20 percent.”

Editors Note

Comparative data for the Web Audit Service will be available after the next reporting period (September).

About the ABC and CAB – Founding Member of the IFABC

The Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC), founded in 1932 and Circulations Audit Board (CAB) founded in 1957 are non-profit industry organisations governed by tripartite groups of Publishers, Advertisers and Advertising Agency members created to ensure independent verification of media. ABC’s primary audit services verifies paid circulation while CAB provides audit services for the print media, exhibitions and many other forms of media advertising. For more information, please visit www.auditbureau.org.au.