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Why Sussex weeklies were left out of ABC figures

Regional publisher Johnston Press has revealed the reasons behind the absence of a large number of its weekly titles from last week’s ABC figures.

None of the company’s weekly newspapers in East or West Sussex appeared in the audit, prompting a number of emails to HTFP.

Missing titles include the Worthing Herald, Chichester Observer, Eastbourne Herald and Hastings and St Leonards Observer, West Sussex County Times and Bexhill Observer.

Now JP has explained that it has withdrawn them following a row with the Audit Bureau of Circulation over whether they could be audited annually instead of every six months.

Johnston Press South managing director Karl Dimmock said in a statement:  “Following an internal review of a number of the paid for titles in Sussex Newspapers, a business decision was taken early in 2011 to move to an annual audit.

“Unfortunately ABC rules do not currently have provision for members that are already on a six month audit to move to an annual audit. Only titles that were previously audited annually were given dispensation to continue to report annually.

“As a result these titles were withdrawn and to comply with the strict JICREG guidelines Deloitte were appointed to undertake the audits for 2011 and 2012.

“Sussex Newspapers are fully compliant with the latest JICREG rules and would be happy to review their position within ABC should the annual audit rules be relaxed.”

Karl declined to comment on suggestions of a further disagreement with the ABC over whether copies sold in bulk to schools at full price for free distribution to pupils had been disqualified from the audit.

The ABC declined to comment on any aspect of the story.


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  • March 9, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    As a media buyer what I’m looking for is the ABC industry stamp of trust on figures as then I know I’m trading with complete confidence and trust. We need accountability, transparency and reassurance that data is prepared to industry agreed standards for effective trading among media owners, advertisers and buyers.

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