Buyers press ABC for more magazine data

Agency planners and buyers are planning to put increased pressure on magazine publishers in the next couple of weeks for an increase in the frequency of their circulation data.

It is understood that the issue is to be raised with the Consumer Magazines Council of the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) just before the next set of ABC magazines figures are released. They are due on February 14.

According to industry sources, media buyers are trying to force a doubling in the frequency of magazine circulation data, from biannual to quarterly, sometime this year. The issue was first raised in 1999 and was again raised in Marketing Week in 2000 (MW August 17, 2000).

A media buyer says: “There are too many launches and too many shut-downs happening in the magazine industry. We need more and better information in order to sell and buy space.”

National newspapers supply planners and buyers with monthly circulation figures.

Another buyer says that the issue will stir up “lots of fighting” between buyers and magazine publishers. The buyer adds that advertisers could tip the balance if they insist that ads will be sold only to those magazines which provide more frequent circulation data. Some buyers are even calling for monthly rather than quarterly data, similar to that supplied by the national papers.

Publishers, meanwhile, are understood to be skirting the issue of increasing the frequency their circulation data. They are unwilling or unable to incur additional auditing costs at a time of economic uncertainty.

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