Magazine Publishers Running Ahead Of Auditors With UK Digital Editions

Magazine publishers who publish digital editions have found those editions hit 1.7 percent of circulation in the UK – but auditing criteria mean some of the best examples are not yet counted.

Digital editions reported through *ABC* (UK) clocked 96,589 from 72 titles during the July-to-December period, four times more titles than reported in the previous year.

Sales were led by Men’s Health, T3 and GQ.

The *ABC* began auditing UK “digital editions” in August 2011 but, to satisfy the definition, content can only vary from print counterparts by five percent.

  • So Future Publishing (LSE: FUTR) took it upon itself to commission its own, “industry-first” independent audit of its flagship T3 magazine, which has a unique UI for the iPad. When this edition is included, it doubles the *ABC*-stated figure 7,327 T3 standard digital editions (through newsstands like Zinio) to 14,223.
  • Likewise, Dennis’ Evo magazine also falls outside the threshold, so it said independently it has seen 300,000 Newsstand downloads, from which it has found 6,000 iPad subscribers.

Publishers think including their best products is important because they want to demonstrate reach to advertisers.

*ABC*, which had already updated its digital reporting restrictions three times in 2011, will from June 2012 let publishers like Future use a new digital-only certificate to report circulations for iPad editions which contain little or no resemblance to print counterparts.

The July-to-December digital edition circulations issued this week also do not include the full iTunes Newsstand uplift. Since Apple’s service was only online for three of the six months, its effect is averaged out amongst the *ABC*’s six months.

  • Future itself reports 150,000 Newsstand sales across its portfolio, including digital editions and apps – over 40 percent of which are subscriptions.
  • Dennis says it sold over £1 million worth of magazines and Magbooks via iTunes store in the six-month period.

Total print and digital magazine circulations reported by *ABC* for the half year were 1.4 percent down on the 2010 equivalent.