ABC gains five digital publishing members

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The Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC), an organization that checks the print circulation, readership and Web site activity of media outlets, has added five companies involved in digital publishing initiatives to its roster. The new members include Bite Sized Candy, the creator of a soon-to-be-launched technology that makes magazines available via iTunes and readable on the iPhone and iPod Touch. Sony Electronics, which recently created a line of e-readers, has also joined the group. Digital companies Pixel MagsPlastic Logic and ScrollMotion are new ABC members, as well.


Neal Lulofs, SVP of communications and strategic planning at ABC, said that the addition of these new firms “can ensure that the technology they're developing is essentially auditable and can one day count as paid circulation for magazines.”


Media outlets determine print and online advertising rates based on circulation. ABC audits and confirms those circulation and readership statistics. Members also have access to resources like ABC's publisher's statements and audit reports.


“There's been a real shift in the industry in that people want to consume these publications on whichever platform they want,” said Parie Markowitz, managing director and co-founder of Bite Sized Candy. “So if [digital and mobile versions] aren't being counted towards total circulation, what's the value for the publisher?”


Digital versions of publications have counted toward paid circulation since 2001, according to Lulofs. He went on to say that between 300 and 400 publications currently claim some amount of paid digital circulation.

Digital editions must meet certain criteria including an opt-in or download from the consumer. However, a timeframe for companies' being able to add digital editions to paid circulation numbers varies from publication to publication, according to Markowitz. She noted that media outlets have various price points and strategies for digital distribution.


“[For Bite Sized Candy] it may not be done next week or next month,” she explained. “But the long term goal is to work with and get support from ABC. That's what publishers want to be hearing.”


Ryan Marquis, co-founder and COO of Pixel Mags, said the company will make 100 consumer magazines available via iTunes in mid-October.


“Being on board with ABC is very important, especially when those magazines being purchased from iTunes end up counting as paid circulation,” he said.


ABC Interactive, ABC's branch that monitors Web traffic, was formed in 1996. However, Lulofs said ABC has increasingly focused on digital publishing in the mobile space for the last year or two.

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