‘Sample Free Distribution’ allows publishers to distribute ‘one off’ or ‘non regular’ free copies, meaning they can identify new audiences to target. For example, publishers can target their distribution around significant events where particular audiences may be present. Such distribution will now be included in certificates under a section called ‘Sample Free Distribution’ and will be broken out in the data and analysed by issue for maximum clarity. Distribution in this category must be audited by ABC, who require advance notification in order to ensure the additional testing required is agreed and in place.

‘Multiple Copy Subscriptions’ is an existing ABC Circulation Category used by magazines which is now available to the Regional Sector. This allows the single purchase of a number of subscriptions by a known subscriber. This subscriber then distributes the copies to a particular group of individuals. A good example of this would be a care home purchasing subscriptions on behalf of its residents, a great target group for a local newspaper and a valuable service to the community. The introduction of this category fits with ABC’s policy of having rules which are consistent across different publication types. Standard definitions allow for maximum clarity and comparability across different types of print media.

The new standards were developed by both regional media buyers, publishers and advertisers through ABC’s Regional Reporting Standards Group and approved by ABC’s Board.

Jan Pitt, Group Executive Director, Client Services, at ABC, comments:

“It is essential that ABC rules reflect the changing consumption of regional media. These new categories ensure that robust industry standards and auditing practice support the regional press in the continued development of their valuable local audiences. These two new standards open up new avenues for publishers (and therefore advertisers) to engage and build new readers.”

Publishers will be able to audit any titles that match these requirements from period-end July 2015 with the data available via ABC QuickView or the title’s own certificate.

Darron McLoughlin , Circulation Director at Archant, ABC Board Member and  Chair of the ABC Regional Publications Reporting Standards Group added:

“The regional media world is more competitive than ever, with increasing numbers of channels providing opportunities for innovative publishers. ABC’s new standards allow us to understand these, increasing the number of distribution methods that are industry-certified by its Stamp of Trust.”