ABC Formally Embraces Readership Metric With New ‘Audience FAX’

By: E&P Staff

Nearly 100 years after it was formed to preach the gospel that paid circulation is the best measure of newspaper’s value as an advertising medium, the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) is embracing the readership metric.

ABC, the Newspaper Association of America (NAA), and Scarborough Research on Tuesday announced an initiative to integrate newspaper readership and online audience estimates into ABC circulation reports.

“Audience-FAX” will launch this fall, allowing newspapers to report in-market print, online, and net combined readership as measured by Scarborough Research.

Monthly Web site unique visitors also will be reported from sources including Nielsen//NetRatings, and comScore Inc. Editor & Publisher is owned by Nielsen, the parent company of Nielsen//NetRatings.

ABC called Audience-FAX “the latest step in a multilevel industry initiative to answer advertisers’ needs for measurement data that reflects newspapers’ full reach and audience.”

Audience and Web site estimates in Audience-FAX will be independently audited by ABC and reported in its Publisher’s Statements, Audit Reports, and FAS-FAX.

The information also will be available in a new industry database, created and hosted by Scarborough and available to ABC members, the Schaumburg, Ill.-based auditing firm said.

Advertisers will be able to generate custom reports on national and local newspapers comparing selected markets or papers across a range of demographic segments, using print and online audience data.

ABC said Audience-FAX is expected to launch Nov. 5, covering the September 2007 six-month reporting period.

The program will be offered in two tiers: one covering Scarborough-measured newspapers in the top 81 U.S. metropolitan markets (Designated Market Areas), and one for newspapers in all other markets.

Metro dailies in the top markets will be required to report print readership, online readership, net combined audience and Web site usage.

Newspapers in other markets will have the option to participate using their readership and Web usage research vendors, which also will be audited by ABC.

“Scarborough’s participation in Audience-FAX brings a 360-degree view of a newspaper’s readers-both print and online,” said Bob Cohen, president & CEO, Scarborough Research, in a statement.

Additional information about Audience-FAX can be found online at www.accessabc.com. The ABC Web site includes a prototype Publisher’s Statement.

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