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Newsquest pulls titles out of ABC membership

ABClogo-e1424873874120Newsquest has resigned its titles from ABC membership – meaning the auditor will no longer publish circulation figures from the regional publisher.

ABC has confirmed the move, which means the six-monthly regional results published in February were the last to feature the company’s print publications.

In February it was revealed the Newsquest-owned Bracknell News was the only paid-for weekly in the UK to experience a circulation increase during 2018, while the company’s Brighton-based title The Argus was the second best performing daily across the country.

Newsquest said the move came after “a competitive tender exercise with prospective suppliers”, and it will now be audited by BPA Worldwide.

An ABC spokeswoman told HTFP: “I can confirm Newsquest has made the decision to resign its titles from ABC membership.

“Effective from 1 April 2019, Newsquest’s regional newspapers and associated websites ceased to be in membership.

“ABC figures for Newsquest were last published in our February 2019 regional report for the reporting period ending December 2018.

“These figures have been audited.”

Confirmation of the move comes after ABC revealed changes to the way it releases certificates to the regional press.

The changes mean individual titles’ certificates will now be published on the auditor’s website five working days after their circulation figures are submitted instead of en masse every six or 12 months.

The spokeswoman added: “In consultation with the industry (both buyers and sellers, reporting standards groups and our board) we’ve changed the way we release certificates for the regional press.

“The new system (similar to what we do for the business press) is that we release certificates on our website, five working days after a publisher has submitted their circulation figures to us.

“This puts certificates out into the market more quickly rather than holding up the data until a specified release date.”

ABC will still continue to publish regular summaries of regional press figures.

A Newsquest spokesman said: “We recently conducted a competitive tender exercise with prospective suppliers for our audience audit work and, as a result, selected BPA Worldwide to provide these services for the current audit period.

“To ensure we meet the required standards and deliver value for all stakeholders we regularly review arrangements for the provision of such services.”

10 comments

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  • August 21, 2019 at 10:58 am
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    Anyone can make a reasonably accurate approximation of the figures for the next few years anyway by simply reducing the last known figures by 10-15% per annum.

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  • August 21, 2019 at 12:40 pm
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    So Newsquest is just switching auditors, their titles will continue to be independently audited just not by ABC. Surely his means their audited figures will still be available for scrutiny?

    Philip, looking at the most recent ABCs, Newsquest’s paid titles are doing better than most, certainly better than JPI and Reach.

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  • August 21, 2019 at 1:48 pm
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    Philip, BPA are in the same league as ABC for audit services. I don’t really see any difference in terms of the audit quality. Check out the BPA website for details. I think JP, sorry JPI, uses BPA too.

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  • August 21, 2019 at 2:46 pm
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    Fair points Phil, I just don’t understand why they’d chose to leave one and use another?
    There must be a valid reason to switch or you’d stay as you were surely ?

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  • August 21, 2019 at 3:48 pm
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    So now we’ve established that Newsquest isn’t ditching auditing (as per Phillip’s original suggestion) – it’s probably just a way to save money. And, given the choice between saving money through smaller newsrooms or saving money on an auditing process which very few people show an interest in, surely we’d all make the same choice?

    As is pointed out in the article, some Newsquest titles are bucking circulation trends. Why some people always look for the mirrors in the smoke on here, I don’t know. Axes to grind anyone?

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  • August 21, 2019 at 3:56 pm
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    I can confirm that Newsquest is currently working with BPA Worldwide on their circulation and website audits for the current period. Like ABC UK, BPA is a not for profit media auditor (www.bpaww.com) which is guided by media owners, advertisers and agencies to verify media data so that media buying decisions can be made with confidence.

    BPA audits over 400 regional newspapers in the UK, and audit over 2,000 media properties globally.

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  • August 21, 2019 at 4:35 pm
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    If Tippex believes; “ …an auditing process which very few people show an interest in..” he has clearly never been involved with media buyers and advertising agencies who live and die by independently audited sales figures be they from ABC, BPA or any other credible auditors, not the bundled up print/online/e-shot/newsletter numbers many of the main groups and their reps offer out whenever falling copy sales and readerships are mentioned.

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  • August 21, 2019 at 4:51 pm
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    Most media buyers , being relatively young, citycentric and completely under exposed to regional press are more likely to buy a ton of clicks online than pick up a copy of BRAD to research the best reach permutations for Whitby. Yes the waste will be high, the targeting shallow and the result unspectacular but its a low cost, low risk, low return model that advertisers are currently lapping up because the graphs look good at their investor conference.
    The game has changed, local advertisers who are still into press are still buying “engagement” with titles they know and trust and national buyers are simply buying packaged up commoditised regionals based on national print regions. Either way, your ABC isn’t part of this equation so you may as well get audited for the best/lowest price.

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  • August 22, 2019 at 10:43 am
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    “ pick up a copy of BRAD”

    ( Checks date to see if it’s still 1980)

    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry

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  • August 22, 2019 at 3:35 pm
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    Employee X …i’m just being age appropriate to the audience of this message board who still think regional press is dying due to bad management (that’s everybody else except them) and not simply reflecting the shift in media consumption that would be happening regardless of how many star journalists and award winning togs were employed.

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