Regional Publications / ROI Newspapers

Standards home

Reporting Standards for products registered in the Regional Publications/ROI Newspapers sector.

Regional Publications / ROI Newspapers
Full Standards
( printable PDF )

Reporting Standards

Paid Single Copies

Paid Subscriptions

Paid Multiple Copies

Free Copies

Digital Copies


Latest updates

December 2021
  • Qualifying criteria: The criteria for a publication to report to these Standards has been revised to include a qualification based upon the publication's name and/or content. 

August 2021
  • Digital only issues and Digital only magazines [effective from periods ending December 2021]: You may report an issue (or issues) comprised of solely digital copies on a Regional Publication certificate (i.e. an issue does not need a ‘print parent’).

April 2021
  • 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.

  • 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.

March 2020
  • Reporting: To help publishers promote the scale of a publication’s circulation, we’re adding to certificates a figure that represents the total number of copies circulated during the reporting period (not including copies reported for excluded issues). This will start with the certificates for the current period ending December 2020. Publishers may opt out of reporting this figure if they wish. 

July 2020
  • Coronavirus - end of temporary variations to Standards: Subject to any significant unforeseen circumstances in the interim, the standards variations will revert to ‘normal’ from Monday 3rd August.

  • Digital Editions (free): Free Digital Edition copies can now be included under the Free Requested Delivered Copies category where distribution is demonstrated by the active opening of the copy. This is an alternative to the existing method of emailed notifications alerting individuals to the availability of each Digital issue.

  • Digital Editions – Paid. A new category 'All You Can Read Sales' is introduced for reporting Digital Edition copies where the consumer has paid and viewed a copy as part of a multi-publication offer. This category is reported under ‘Paid Subscriptions’ and is available from reporting periods ending August 2020.

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

Issued March 2020
  • ROI publications that previously reported under separate ROI Paid Newspaper or ROI Free Letterbox Delivery standards will now report under these standards. 

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.

Issued July 2019
  • Concurrent Release: Instead of publishing a concurrent release of data, certificates will be released on a rolling basis as publishers submit their circulation claims. Publishers will submit their returns as normal but instead of ABC holding certificates until a specified date, certificates will be released 5 working days after submission.

  • 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.

  • Annual Publications: For titles published annually (or less frequent):

    • The reporting period can be the date range over which the issue is distributed.

    • To take account of staggered distribution of geographical editions, the requirement for editions to be distributed on or about the same date as the main edition does not apply.

  • Christmas/New Year Exclusions: It is clarified that exclusions for issues during the Christmas/New Year period for weekly titles is covered by the specific rule for that period, and that the public holiday rule cannot also be applied.

Issued January 2019
  • Consolidated auditing - amendment to give greater flexibility to the annual audit of six-monthly certificates

  • Free Pick Up/Sample Free Distribution: Free copies packaged with other newspapers, magazines or products can now be included in these categories. Examples include a free publication within a retail multipack, a publication inserted within another publication and a free publication within a goodybag

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 July 2017 (effective from December 2017 period) 
  • New ABC Standards have been agreed for Regional Publications. The link above details significant changes in reporting and circulation requirements that will come into effect from Reporting Periods ending December 2017.
Issued April 2017
  • Excluded issues: The ability to exclude an issue of a paid for publication from the average circulation due to a local bank holiday has been amended to those issues where sales are affected by a local public holiday, evidenced either by publication on an official local authority website or by virtue of a long-standing custom/tradition previously recognised by ABC.

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. 

  • Alison Jarvis, Newspaper Sales Shared Manager, Reach plc

  • Darron McLoughlin (Chair), Audience Development Director, Archant Norfolk

  • Jeff Almond, Media Facilities Executive, The News Media Association

  • Joanne Monk, Group Matrix Administration Manager, JPI Media
  • Keith Donaldson, Chief Executive, JICREG

  • Rob Kelly, Head of Circulation, Express and Star

  • Scott Barnard, Account Manager, Amplifi

Submission deadlines

PeriodSubmission deadline
Apr 2022 12/05/2022
May 2022 09/06/2022
Jun 2022 (monthly) 14/07/2022
Jun 2022 (6 month) 19/08/2022
Jul 2022 11/08/2022
Aug 2022 08/09/2022
Sep 2022 13/10/2022
Oct 2022 10/11/2022
Nov 2022 08/12/2022
Dec 2022 (6 month) 17/02/2023

Accounting calendar

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

Archived standards

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

Print this page Email page
Search this page:

Media Audits

ABC releases data for the UK media industry to use when trading advertising. Our audits can cover your whole brand.

Third Party Auditing & Consultancy

ABC are a leading industry-owned auditor for media products and services, with specialist skills in digital ad trading. Our process and bespoke audits cover the following areas.

Our logo stands for quality and trust in media, empowering our industry to trade with confidence.

ABC Logo