ABC Bulk Distribution

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Reporting Standards for products registered in the ABC Bulk Distribution sector.

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Reporting Standards

Latest updates

September 2021

Free Letterbox Delivery: Following its introduction during the COVID restrictions of 2020, this category is now permanently available in this sector.  

Digital Publications: As an alternative to reporting calendar months, you may opt to use the equivalent dates for the relevant months according to the published ABC Accounting Calendar. This would allow, for example, a newspaper to align their Digital Publication's periods with their print publications by using periods that include only whole weeks, starting on a Monday and ending on a Sunday. 

November 2020
  • Digital Editions - allowable content changes between a print parent edition and its Digital Edition have been amended.

  • Free Digital Editions - can now be included under the Free Requested Delivered Copies category where distribution is demonstrated by the active opening of the copy.

  • Paid Digital Editions - All You Can Read Sales category introduced, for copies where the consumer has paid and viewed a copy as part of a multi-publication offer.

March 2020
  • Temporary standards changes issued to help address the challenges of coronavirus. 

Issued March 2020
  • ROI publications that previously reported under separate ROI ABC Bulk Distribution standards will now report under these standards. 

Issued December 2017
  • Excluded issues - Christmas (Daily titles only): The following has been added in relation to optional exclusions for the Christmas/New Year period: "If the fall of days renders these dates inappropriate ABC reserves the right to amend the dates for any particular year". It has been agreed that for 2017 publishers may opt to exclude issues published on Friday 22nd December from the average circulation. The issue's circulation must be reported separately on the certificate in line with existing requirements.
Issued August 2015
  • Sample Free Distribution - new category available from September 2015: This new category will allow you to claim copies that meet the existing rules for Free Pick Up, except for the fact that their distribution does not follow a regular and consistent pattern. Therefore one-off or irregular distributions can be claimed under this Sample Free Distribution category and will be analysed by type by issue. You must obtain ABC’s agreement in advance of the distribution. Due to the increased audit time this type of distribution will incur, additional costs will be payable which will be dependent upon the extent of the job. Please contact us for guidance on this.

Guidance Update - August 2015
  • Retail Promotions - Guidance on discounts / cash reimbursements: Clarification of how in-store promotions that result in discounts or cash reimbursements affect the reporting of the publication for ABC purposes.
  • Retail promotions - Guidance on clarification of clear and conspicuous pricing: Clarification of what is clear and conspicuous pricing when a publication is sold in-store as part of a bundle or package with other products.

If you require information on any earlier changes please contact us.

Reporting Standards Group (RSG)

The Reporting Standards Group (RSG) members below have been approved by the ABC Board and represent the wider membership in the development of the Reporting Standards. As an ABC member, if you have any issue or request about these standards, you can contact us or any of the RSG members below. 

  • Andrew Guiton, UK Director of Distribution, Metro

  • Chris Reed, Mediacom

  • Gaby Cornish, Associate Director - Investment, Starcom Mediavest Group

  • Gianni Cavalli, Distribution Director, City AM Ltd

Submission deadlines

PeriodSubmission deadline
May 2021 10/06/2021
Jun 2021 15/07/2021
Jul 2021 12/08/2021
Aug 2021 09/09/2021
Sep 2021 14/10/2021
Oct 2021 11/11/2021
Nov 2021 09/12/2021

Accounting calendar

Details of the weeks applied to each audit month and the months applied to each reporting period.

ABC Bulk Distribution Data

View the latest data in our Data Hub.

Archived standards

If you require past versions of Reporting Standards you can find them here.

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