Regional Publications

Back to index

Digital Copies

Digital Copies are copies of a publication published electronically as a unit.

Eligibility and options for reporting

  1. Digital Copies can be reported on a Regional Publication certificate providing they meet the relevant circulation and other requirements detailed in these Standards.

  2. How the digital copies may be claimed will depend on whether print copies are also claimed and, if they are, whether the digital copies meet the requirements to be classified as an edition of the print publication. The scenarios are:

    1. The publication is only published in digital format – the Digital Copies will be reported on their own certificate.

    2. The publication is published in both print and digital formats (either for all issues or a mix where some issues are either print or digital only):

      1. You may:

        • Claim the print and digital copies on the same certificate, providing the digital copies meet the requirements to be classified as a Digital Edition of the print publication. Note: If you report digital only issues on the same certificate as other issues that contain print copies, then you must include an analysis of issue circulations to highlight the print/digital split (e.g. by day of week).

        • Choose to claim the print and digital copies on separate certificates, even though the digital copies meet the requirements to be classified as a Digital Edition of the print publication.

          If the digital copies cannot be classified as a Digital Edition of the print publication you can register the digital publication as a separate product and report the print and digital copies on separate certificates.

    3. Definition of a Digital Edition

  3. To qualify as a Digital Edition, that edition must be sufficiently similar as to be considered the same product as the print Parent Edition. In particular:

    1. A Digital Edition must be identified as an edition of a publication reported on the ABC Certificate (the Parent Edition). This means it must carry a logotype/masthead incorporating the generic name of the Parent Edition and be consistent with the general appearance of the Parent Edition.

    2. A Digital Edition is published electronically as a unit.

    3. It may be reformatted to suit the different delivery medium. For example: changes in page size or order.

    4. Editorial or advertising may include electronic enhancements or be adapted to take advantage of the medium. For example: pictures replaced with video. 

    5. Compared to the print parent edition, you can change editorial content, providing at any point in time:

      1. A minimum of about 75% of the editorial in the print parent edition is present in the Digital Edition.

      2. Additional editorial, not in the print edition, can be added to the digital edition, up to about 25% of the total editorial by volume in the print edition.

        You must declare editorial changes when submitting your claim to ABC and be able to demonstrate they fall within the permitted parameters.

    6. A Digital Edition may include live social media feeds, news feeds and/or video feeds. These will be ignored in relation to the editorial change requirements.

    7. A digital edition must carry all of the ROP (not classified) advertisements (by number and advertisers) that appear in the parent edition unless agreed otherwise with the advertiser/agency. 

    8. You can sell advertisements for inclusion in the digital edition only. 

    9. If editorial or advertising renders the digital edition illegal for publication the specific advertising/editorial may be removed. In this instance you can ignore the relevant editorial/advertising from your calculations of changes.

    10. Digital editions and their parent edition must be published on or about a common distribution date.

      Note: In cases where individual issues do not have a Parent Edition (being only published in one format/edition only), then requirements 3e, 3g and 3j above do not apply.


Principles

1. Prior notification of Digital Copy claims and plans are required

2. Digital Copies are opted in

3. Digital Copies are published and available to the consumer

4. Digital Copies must meet requirements of the relevant circulation category except where varied by this section


Requirements 

1. Prior notification of Digital Copy claims and plans are required
  1.  Digital Copy claims must be audited by ABC Staff Auditors.

  2.  You must register your intention to claim in advance of the publication of the issues as part of the audit is carried out during the reporting period. 

  3. You must provide planned distribution dates in advance and notify us of any changes. 
2. Digital Copies are opted in
  1. The individual must have either specifically purchased the Digital Copy, or requested to receive/view it.

3. Digital Copies are published and available to the consumer
  1. You must provide ABC with free access to the digital copies.
4. Digital Copies must meet requirements of the relevant circulation category except where varied by this section 
  1. Digital Copies can be claimed only for specified circulation categories. 

  2. In relation to all paid categories you must be able to demonstrate the copy has been sold and at what price.

  3. If the end recipient receives the Digital Copy free, you need to comply with either proof of notification or proof of active opening:

    1. Proof of Notification:

      • You must capture the recipient's name and email address. 

      • You can only claim one Digital Copy per individual.

      • You cannot claim the copy if you have provided a paid or free print copy to the same individual (where known). 

      • You must be able to demonstrate the copy is distributed to the individual. For example: by providing evidence that an email alert has been sent to the individual informing them that the issue is available for view/download.

    2. Proof of Active Opening:

      • Evidence of delivery to identifiable individuals must be demonstrated by the measurement of active openings of the copy.

      • The delivery process/database must have a mechanism to minimise the risk of significant duplicates to the same individual within the distribution method.

      • The auditor must have access to verify the claim in relation to the delivery process/database and measurement of active openings.

  4. For Corporate Subscription Digital Copies:

    1. There must be a contractual arrangement between the purchaser (a third party employer) and the publisher for at least two issues

    2. The copies are purchased by the third party employer for its employees

    3. The claimed quantity must be restricted to those employees that have personally opted to receive/view the Digital Copy. For example: A company takes out a subscription for each of its 100 employees. If only 40 of those employees personally register to receive/view the digital copy then only those 40 copies may be included on the ABC Certificate.

  5. Gift subscriptions, where the recipient receives a subscription as a gift from a paying subscriber (up to a maximum of 12 gift subscriptions per subscriber), can be claimed as Digital Copy Single Copy Subscription Sales as follows:

    1. The recipient’s email address must be provided.

    2. The recipient is deemed (for ABC purposes) as having paid for the subscription.

    3. The recipient's geographical location for reporting purposes will be treated as being the same as that of the purchaser making the gift.

  6. You must retain and supply us on an issue by issue basis (or as otherwise agreed) a list of individual recipients for each issue (the ‘Total Distribution List’ (TDL)) which includes details of all the recipients of individually distributed print copies and all free Digital Copies  We must be able to identify the circulation category/type each copy is claimed in. As referred to above, this list should exclude:

    i) Duplicate records (i.e. each individual on the list can only be claimed once - the print copy takes precedence).

    ii) Individuals where Hard Bouncebacks have arisen from email notifications for Digital Copies.

  7. You must supply us the claim for Digital Copies on an issue by issue basis (or as otherwise agreed). 

Guidance Available


Reporting

 See specific circulation categories for mandatory and optional reporting of Digital Copies. Note:

  1. Corporate Subscriptions (which can only be claimed for Digital Copies) will be reported as Paid Subscription Copies.

  2. If you are breaking out Paid Single Copies into Full Rate and Below Full rate then Digital Copy sales must be claimed in the appropriate rate band by comparing the price paid with the UK print copy Basic Cover Price. In the case of a digital only publication, copies must be claimed in the appropriate rate band as defined by the Digital Copy Basic Cover Price (single copy sales).

  3. If you report digital only issues on the same certificate as other issues that contain print copies, then you must include an analysis of issue circulations to highlight the print/digital split (e.g. by day of week).


Guidance

G4. Digital Copies must meet requirements of the relevant circulation category except where varied by this section 
  1. Typically to provide evidence of the email alerts to individuals informing them that the issue is available for view/download you will provide system generated proof (such as a notification log of the email alerts sent). This system generated proof would normally need to include evidence of what has been distributed, when and to whom, such as:

    1. Date sent
    2. Time sent
    3. Name of publication
    4. Issue identifier
    5. Email address
    6. Size of file delivered
    7. Addressee identifier

  2. Our testing of email alerts may involve email ‘writebacks’ to individuals on an on-going basis during the reporting period which is why we will ask for information throughout.

  3. Single copy retail sales of Digital Copies via a third party retailer (for example Apple Newsstand, Google, Amazon etc) will be reported in the category Retail Sales (Sale or Return). Single copy sales of Digital Copies direct to a consumer by the publisher will be claimed in the category Single Copy Sales.

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