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NatMags breaks rank by releasing monthly sales data

LONDON – The National Magazine Company has released retrospective monthly magazine sales figures as a gesture of goodwill to media agencies, who have been probing for more detailed data, and is considering the prospect of releasing figures on a more timely basis.

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It is the first major publisher to make such a move. The figures provide a more detailed circulation picture than the half-yearly ABC figures that the publishing industry currently provides to advertisers. They cover every month from February 2003 to July 2004, corresponding to the three most recent ABC periods.

Duncan Edwards, managing director of NatMags, said: "We have done this in response to repeated industry demands for greater transparency in monthly sales trends. We are releasing our figures across all NatMags titles retrospectively as a test to see how well received and useful the data proves to be. If the test is a success, we will certainly look to release monthly data on a more regular basis."

The figures are those submitted to the ABC for auditing purposes, and any variance to the sum total of the monthly sales from the ABC figure is the result of minor adjustments to the last issue in a period, because of estimates converting into actual sales.

In June this year, NatMags had to restate its July to December 2003 ABC circulation figures for Cosmopolian and Esquire, when it was found that it overstated the number of full-price copies sold. The incident led press buyers to call for more openness on ABC figures.

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