Business Magazines

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Reporting Standards for products registered in the Business Magazines sector.


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Latest updates

Issued August 2021
  • Digital Copies: We previously communicated (November 2020) a rule change that allowed you to report an issue (or issues) comprised solely of digital copies on a Business Magazine certificate (i.e. an issue does not need a ‘print parent’). We have updated the Digital Editions section to provide greater clarity on how this affects reporting, along with replacing references to ‘Digital Editions’ throughout the standards with ‘Digital Copies’ where appropriate.

Issued April 2021
  • Coronavirus: The ending of the temporary variations to Business Magazine Reporting Standards, and therefore reversion to ‘normal’ Standards, has been agreed. View the timings of the remaining COVID variations here.

  • Website/App Activity: The Standards have been overhauled to provide a more flexible and cost-effective method of reporting Web and App activity.

  • Email Newsletters: The Email Standards have also undergone a review, placing a greater focus on the email platform used to report data and introducing the ability to report multiple email newsletters on the same certificate.

  • Digital Events: These new Standards allow you the opportunity to report attendance and other related data for online events, such as webinars, seminars and other virtual events.

Issued November 2020 
  • Digital only issues and Digital only magazines [effective from periods ending January 2021]: From 2021 you may report an issue (or issues) comprised of solely digital copies on a Business Magazine certificate (i.e. an issue does not need a ‘print parent’).

  • Free Requested Delivered Copies [effective from periods ending January 2021]: From 2021 you will be able to claim copies in a new category of circulation, called Free Requested Delivered Copies. Already available in other ABC sectors, this category allows you to claim free copies requested by individuals, without the additional information required currently under Controlled Circulation.

Issued October 2020
  • Changes to Coronavirus temporary variations:

    • For reporting periods ending December 2020 you may select any issue to be your analysed Audit Issue.

    • You may opt to report issues distributed post-lockdown in March, up to 31st December 2020 that are affected by coronavirus restrictions on a separate COVID-19 certificate. Issues distributed pre-lockdown in March and from January 2021 onwards will be included in trend reporting on the relevant ‘normal’ certificate.

    • Other temporary variations listed on our Coronavirus page will continue, to be reviewed again in March 2021.

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

Issued March 2020
  • ROI publications that previously reported under separate ROI Business Magazine standards will now report under these standards. 

Issued September 2019
  • Brand and Group Reports: Publishers can now report Google Analytics 'Users' on ABC Brand or Group Reports to demonstrate their online brand reach. This provides a cost-effective alternative to our more detailed Web Traffic certificate.

  • Brand Reports and Group Reports:

    • A distinction is made between ABC reports that bring together ABC audited products for a single brand (Brand Report) or for a number of different brands (Group Report).

    • Data from different ABC certificates can be aggregated under certain circumstances (key being it’s the same metric for the same reporting period).

  • Digital Publications Standards: Where digital copies are sold bundled with another ABC claimed product, and they are claimed as circulation on an ABC Digital Publication certificate (which is separate to the print certificate), they must be reported in the ‘bundle’ category.

Issued September 2018
  • Membership Copies: Copies may now be reported in this category where they are circulated to a society member as a benefit of their membership. 

  • Sample Free Distribution: Amendments to the requirements for pre-approval by ABC and claiming of back issues

  • Digital Editions: Requests for the publication do not need to specify Digital Edition format

  • Group certificates: These are no longer available

Issued May 2018
  • New ABC Standards have been agreed for Business Magazines. The link above details significant changes in reporting and circulation requirements that will come into effect from Reporting Periods ending June 2018

  • An example certificate illustrating the new design and layout can be viewed here. Please note this includes examples of optional data and tables

Issued April 2018
  • Digital Editions: You may claim Digital Edition copies in the Controlled Company Requested category

Issued July 2017
  • Demographic reporting: We have simplified the options for reporting demographic data

  • Digital Editions: You may claim Digital Edition copies in the Controlled Non-Requested category

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. 

  • Amanda Wigginton, Consultant, PPA

  • Chris Jones, Circulation & Database Operations Manager, Mark Allen Group

  • James Mullender, Audience Manager & Data Protection Officer, Western Business Media Limited

  • Kevin Hickman, Head of Marketing, emap

  • Mark Ashley, Client Services Director, Ptarmigan Media

  • Mark Evans, Publishing Director, Perspective Publishing Ltd

  • Steve Morgan, Client Services Manager, Air Business Subscriptions


Submission deadlines

PeriodSubmission deadline
Jun End Period Monday closest to 1st August [June 2021 = 2/8/2021]
Dec End Period Monday closest to 1st February [Dec 2021 = 31/01/2022]

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Archived standards

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

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