ABC unveils rules to allow publishers to report digital sales

The Audit Bureau of Circulations has published rules that will allow publishers to report sales of digital editions on their existing ABC print certificates.

However, while digital editions can now be reported on the print certificate, they cannot be included in the average net circulation figure.

The two sales figures will be reported separately, providing more clarity for advertisers and agencies when dealing with publishers.

Auditing of digital editions of newspapers and magazines will verify that readers have either paid a subscription or actively "opted in" to receive the publication.

The auditors will also check that the publication was available for download at the correct time.

The ABC's new rules will be implemented from July following months of investigation by a working group of publishers of national and regional newspapers and magazines as well as leading press buyers and the Association of Online Publishers.

Chris Boyd, the chief executive of the ABC, said: "With these rules, publishers can ensure they are providing data on their print and digital editions that is both transparent and comparable."