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Rule Updates

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. 

  • News UK, Chris Amor (Chair), Trading Director
  • Starcom Mediavest, Nick Brown, Display Trading Director
  • MediaCom, Adam Crow, Head of Press
  • Initiative UK, Vanessa Doyle, Head of Press & Cinema
  • Group M, Steve Goodman, MD - Print Trading
  • Trinity Mirror, John Howard, Newspaper Sales Director
  • News UK, Trevor Jones, Sales Performance Director
  • Havas Media Group, Laura Keogh, Publishing Director
  • Telegraph Media Group, Paul Little, Circulation Director
  • Financial Times, Martin Lydon, Senior Data and Metrics Analyst
  • All Response Media, Greg Pipe, Print Ops Manager
  • Guardian News and Media, Robert Rattley, Head of Sales and Revenue
  • Mindshare, Craig Smith, Business Director
  • Johnston Press plc, Richard Thomson, Group Publishing Director
  • Dentsu Aegis, Charlie Varley, Planning Director

Latest Changes

Issued August 22, 2018
  • Retail Sales - Retail Incentive schemes: The rules have been updated to clarify what steps we expect publishers to take when operating a retail offer and how we’ll approach the auditing.

Issued August 2018
  • Digital Editions: Ability to report by circulation and/or Publication Active Views (PAVs), purchaser’s details no longer required for copies sold at less than 20%, minimum 20% price for gift subscriptions removed, listing of Digital Edition products included in claim

  • Voucher Subscriptions: Removal of reporting the voucher subscription offers in the period, minimum voucher subscription term reduced from 4 weeks to 2 issues

  • Paid Multiple Copies: Caps for different audience type/locations simplified and rationalised, General cap introduced that provides flexibility for new routes to market, ability for caps to be exceeded providing evidence of demand available for audit, restriction removed on caps where multiple titles distributed at a particular location

  • Consolidated auditing: Option for monthly certificates to be audited on a quarterly cycle

  • Web Traffic: Breaking out automated traffic becomes optional, for certificates of two months or more the domain/inventory listing is only reported for the final month.

Issued April 2018
  • Excluded issues - the criteria for applying to exclude an issue affected by reasons outside the publisher's control have been amended.
Issued April 2017
  • Digital Editions: All You Can Read Sales - A new category for Digital Edition copies where the consumer has paid and viewed a copy as part of a multi-publication offer.

  • Digital Editions: Multiple Copy Business Sales - A new category for Digital Edition copies purchased by third parties that are made available to and viewed by a consumer.

Issued December 2016
  • Social Media (Multi-Platform Certificate/Report): The minimum requirement for reporting Social Media is the metric count on the last working day of the Reporting Period. You may continue to report, as an option, the metric counts on the last working day of each month and the average of these for the period.
Issued March 2016
  • Digital Editions - you can now include live social media feeds, news and video feeds. The principle of a Digital Edition being inert once published has been removed, and editorial can be updated after publication, as long as at least 75% of the editorial from the print parent is present at any point in the Digital Edition.
Issued December 2015
  • Digital Editions - gift subscriptions: Up to 12 Digital Edition Gift subscriptions can be claimed for an individual purchaser providing they've paid at least 20% of Basic Annual Rate and an email address for the recipient is collected. The recipient is treated as being in the same geo-location as the purchaser for ABC purposes.

  • Print only subscriptions not available: Where print only subscriptions are not available and a print BAR does not exist (for example where subscriptions are only available as a print and digital package), you may now use, for ABC purposes, an “alternative BAR” figure, which is set at 75% of the annualised print cover price.

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.
Issued June 2014
  • Digital Editions: optional reporting of Publication Active Views (in addition to circulation) for Digital Editions on the National Newspaper Certificate.
Issued March 2014
  • Retail Sales (Firm Sale): A new circulation category for claiming retail sales sold on a firm sale basis is available from the March 2014 Reporting Period. 
  • Identification of the Audit Issue: Clarification of treatment when two issues fall an equal distance from the designated date.
  • Reporting Periods: Clarification of Reporting Period options for publications newly registered with ABC.
  • ABC Byelaws: A small change to the prescribed process for the late submission of circulation claims to ABC.  
Issued September 2013
  • For Digital Editions only (requirements for print unchanged), the geographical breakdown is amended to UK, ROI, Other countries. This means there will not be a breakdown of UK into Scotland, England/Wales/NI for Digital Edition copies.

Issued June 2013

  • We have undertaken a major exercise to re-write the Reporting Standards to make them easier to use.
  • After consultation with the industry the new rules have moved to a principle-based approach, allowing for more flexibility to deal with new and changing developments in circulation and verification. We have also harmonised common names and definitions across sectors.
  • Each rule is outlined by a simple definition first, underpinned by its principles and then followed by more detailed requirements. Separate guidance notes provide common examples and applications of achieving the requirements
  • As a result of this exercise some rules have changed, but most are minor changes linked to harmonising and simplifying. Click on the link above to view a document summarising the changes.
  • *Please note*: These changes apply from July 2013, therefore for reporting periods up to and including June 2013 you must use the previous Reporting standards, available in the Reporting Standards Archive.
  • Some of the main changes worth noting are:
    • Single Copy Subscriptions will be reported in its own category, separate from Retail Sales
    • Treatment of subscription offers and bundles clarified
    • Re-naming of some categories; Newstrade to Retail Sales; and Pre-Paid Non-Postal Subscriptions to Voucher Subscription Sales
    • Contra rule clarification for corporate type purchases and cash reimbursement rule introduced for consumer purchases
Issued December 2012
  • Reporting Christmas/New Year: You no longer need to submit the additional audited short period returns for the months of December and January. 
Issued 29th June 2012
  • Social Media: You can now report a basic measure of social media audience(s) on a product’s ABC Multi-Platform Certificate. Examples of what could be reported are Facebook ‘Likes’ or Twitter ‘Followers’.
  • Digital Editions: There have been a number of changes to the rules relating to the reporting of digital editions, including: 1) changes to the requirement for a digital edition to be an exact replica of the print edition, affecting editorial, advertising and format; 2) classifying digital edition copies into rate bands will be carried out by comparing the price paid against the UK print copy price; 3) a change in the rate above which the details of the individual purchasing a digital edition copy need be captured, from 50% to 20% of Basic Cover Price or Basic Annual Rate; 4) the introduction of a minimum price for print and digital edition copies sold bundled as a package, above which both print and digital edition copy can be claimed (at least 20% above print copy price). Below this, only the print copy can be claimed. 
Issued June 2012
  • Optional Summer 2012 certificate (to allow for product offerings around the Olympics and Paralympics). We will be able to issue separate optional certificates for the summer of 2012 (between July and September 2012). This is to allow you the opportunity to report ABC audited data for publications where, for the purpose of specific Olympic/Paralympic Games related activity, either the content or delivery have been changed in a way that would ordinarily make those copies ineligible for inclusion on an ABC certificate.
Issued April 2012
  • National Newspapers: Greater circulation detail is to be reported. From the April 2012 period Monday to Friday circulations, Saturday circulations and circulation of excluded issues will be published. From July 2012 daily average indices across each six month period (January to June and July to December) will be published
  • Note: Section B8.4 of the Reporting Standards has been updated to reflect the changes to UK and Northern Ireland Bank Holidays this year because of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee (Spring Bank Holiday moved to June 4th and additional Bank Holiday on June 5th).
Issued November 2011
  • Changes in cover price: From the January 2012 reporting period changes in cover price caused solely by changes in VAT rates will be ignored for ABC purposes.
Issued January 2011
  • Multiple copy sales: The requirements in relation to airline multiple copy sales have been revised, effective from the February 2011 reporting period. Please refer to the letter on the above link for details

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

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