The end of the AMAA? NewLifeMedia pulls figures from audit

Lindsay Bennett
By Lindsay Bennett | 19 December 2016
Nicole Sheffield at News Corp's Come Together event

News Corp Australia's magazine division, NewsLifeMedia, has withdrawn its titles from the Audited Media Association of Australia (AMAA).

News Corp’s magazine brands, including Vogue Australia and GQ Australia, will no longer participate in the AMAA circulation audit. However, the company’s custom publishing titles will continue to take part.

The move comes five days after Bauer announced it would no longer submit its figures for audit. This leaves competitor Pacific Magazines as the largest magazine publisher in the audit, but with both its competitors no longer being audited, it could also pull its titles.

Publisher believe the audit no longer represents the depth of their audience, which are across many platforms, and advertising is bought using readership figures rather than circulation.

News DNA MD Nicole Sheffield says: “We have always been transparent with our measures and circulation alone no longer reflects the breadth and depth of the brand reading audience. The reality is, if you look at other media, we don't count the number of TV sets in a home as a measure of TV audience or outdoor billboards as a measure of outdoor audience.

“There are so many measures of our industry and it can be confusing and costly. After undertaking this review we have determined that the focus should be on our total audience and not sales. This is the metric that our advertisers and media buyers use to make their buying decisions and evaluate performance across other main media.

“Magazine brands today are consumed across many platforms including print, digital, social and events. The audience that our brands talk to is growing significantly and to reflect this, our measurement must give a complete audience picture."

AMAA CEO Josanne Ryan has responded saying it is "disappointed" magazine groups are moving away from the audited data, but now its up to advertisers to ensure they have trusted metrics. You can read her full statement below.

With Fairfax, Pedestrian TV, CarAdvice, Bauer and now NewLifeMedia questioning the validity of the AMAA metric, the organisation is likely to have a challenging 2017.

It will be interesting to see if News Corp now removes its newspapers from the audit. Earlier this year, News Corp’s managing director of metro regional publishing Damian Eales told The Australian, Fairfax removing its digital figures raises the question of the “validity of the whole audit process going forward – digital and print”.

Yaffa Media, AdNews parent company, does not submit its titles to the AMAA audit.

AMAA CEO Josanne Ryan's statement:

"In a digital-first world it’s understandable that the magazine publishers are focused on multi-channel audience metrics.

"Print continues to form a key part of this audience network with audited circulation being a measure of the primary purchaser, and as such represents the primary reader of the print channel. ‘Independent research by the AMAA confirmed that the ABC Audited Circulation data was rated by marketers and agencies as the most trusted metric ahead of all other third party audience metrics.

"We are disappointed that the lead magazine groups have made a decision to move away from providing the audited circulation data, however it is now up to marketers and agencies to determine what data points they require to ensure they have trusted metrics on which to invest advertising.

"The AMAA will continue to work with members to provide verification solutions for their brands, along with our work across multiple channels and supporting accountability and transparency in the media trading ecosystem."

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