Time for change

Jan Pitt small square

Jan Pitt, Commercial Director, ABC

5 things you didn't know about our Standards updates

Over the last ten months we’ve conducted a root and branch review of our standards for consumer magazines and regional publications. This has involved in-depth conversations with buyers and sellers across the market to ensure that our certificates are fit for purpose.

I’m really impressed with the hard work the many industry representatives we’ve spoken to have put in, and proud of the team here at ABC for delivering these changes so quickly.

It’s culminated in a set of clear and easy to use certificates that we hope our media owner members are proud to trade with, and media buyers rely on even more. So why is this important for the industry? Well we’re all about census and counting, so here are five reasons:

  1. Supporting the market, supporting trading. Clear headline ABC figures show the impressive reach of media in print and on digital platforms. Newly introduced charts show the performance of titles from month to month and, for Consumer Magazines, the extent to which they’re actively purchased. The industry told us these figures and data were essential to trading, and now you can view and compare them at a glance.
  2. Just the facts. We were the first media industry JIC (Joint Industry Currency) and the only one to focus on evidence-based census measurement. We’ve been told this offers simplicity and clarity in a market where facts and figures are seemingly endless but rarely substantiated. The granular data we provide can’t be found elsewhere and when you consider that every piece of data we verify is supported by hard evidence you can see why it’s called a ‘gold standard’ of measurement.
  3. You can put a price on free – especially now! Where publishers employ free routes to market, their targeting is clearly presented and verified by our experienced auditors. Gone are the complicated terms to describe different types of free distribution – copies are going to an audience on either a regular or sample basis. And optional tables allow publishers to demonstrate and monetise aspects of their distribution strategy - all independently verified by us.
  4. Save time and reduce stress. Nobody argues with an ABC figure. It adds trust to the trading process and saves hours for both buyers and sellers when they don’t have to justify the validity of their figures.
  5. Trusted measurement supports brand quality. In a world where media purchases are becoming increasingly dominated by algorithms, it’s important to recognise the strong relationships with consumers that media brands deliver. And ABC numbers are the foundation of this relationship. There’s an increasingly strong body of evidence, such as recent studies undertaken by Magnetic and Newsworks, that shows media brands to be one of the most trustworthy environments in which to advertise - and we underpin that trust.

In our evolving media world, collaboration is everything. All our figures are underpinned by industry discussion and agreement. Everything is transparent, metric definitions are available on our website and all regulations determining how and what we count are available for everyone to see. This level of transparency is why the IPA and ISBA launched their call to action in June 2017 with ‘A Matter of Fact’, urging buyers to support JICs as the best-in-class approach for providing objective metrics.

I truly believe in what we do here and the last ten months have seen so much positive change. So I encourage you to use the results of our hard work to your advantage, get your foot in the door with our data. Or, to put it another way, with an ABC stamp of trust you’re straight in the front door and half way up the stairs!

If you have any questions about the new Standards, or upcoming changes for other sectors, please drop me a line at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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