PPA 2011: ABC under fire for 'five decades old auditing system'
Dennis Publishing's chief executive James Tye has criticised the ABC UK's auditing methodology for not keeping up with the pace of digital publishing, saying measurement has to be 'quicker and dirtier'.
James Tye: chief executive, Dennis Publishing
Speaking at the PPA Conference today (4 May), during the ‘Magic Numbers’ panel session, Tye called for industry measured data to be produced faster rather than waiting on the "perfect", multi-platform measuring solution for brands.
Tye said that despite the iPad "being around for a year now", Dennis has not been able to tell its commercial partners officially how many readers download its magazine iPad editions, such as Mac User.
"My worry is we have a system built on the past five decades, we need to build it faster and more reactive to what the customer want," he said.
"The iPad has been around for a year now, yet only now can we start to think about including it in our future auditing certificates", he continued. "As an industry I think we’ve got to learn to move quicker than that."
Vanessa Clifford, head of press at Mindshare, agreed: "Just because these metrics we have now are set, does not mean they’re set in stone. In fact quite the opposite, please change them. They should change as often as possible as things adapt. To keep trying to get it perfect – it never will be".
ABC chief executive Jerry Wright defended the Audit Bureau of Circulations and said that the first ABC data for iPad editions will be published this summer.
He said: "I think then it’s a question of saying, ‘Right we need to turn around a new set of rules for digital editions and apps in that next six month period, certainly not waiting another five years.
"As an industry we need to put some of our doubts in the cupboard, agreeing something, try it, and if it doesn’t work change it. We need to try that if we are ever going to catch up with the pace of technology."
Rupert Turnball, publisher of Condé Nast’s Wired magazine, asked Wright when a new hybrid model of brand engagement measurement will arrive.
Wright said: "I think what the hybrid model does, is show what the total brand footprint is among users. As to when that brand footprint will be ready, I genuinely don’t know.
"At the moment the sheer difficulty of fusing the data that comes out of a panel, with the data that comes out of census or site-based data files is just too great for it to be done. But I think it will be done, because of the demand from advertisers and publishers."
Turnball later told Media Week: "I think it's something the ABC just haven't cracked. For Condé Nast brands such as Wired and Vogue, we are more interested in measuring engagement and influence and the ability to amplify messages, and that's not measured at the moment."
This article was first published on mediaweek.co.uk
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