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ROI Free Letterbox Delivery - rule changes

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This section details the changes to the ROI Free Letterbox Delivery Reporting Standards.


Issued October 2018

  • New ABC Standards have been agreed for ROI Newspapers. The link above details significant changes in reporting and circulation requirements that will come into effect from Reporting Periods ending December 2018

  • An example Consumer Magazine certificate illustrating the new template design and layout can be viewed here

Issued December 2016

  • Event Audience (Multi-Platform Certificate/Report) - You can report a simple event audience figure on a Multi-Platform Certificate/Report. The attendance figure will comprise people that have attended (whether paying or free), with them being counted once on each day they attend.

  • Awards Seat Sales (Multi-Platform Certificate/Report) - You can report seat sales for Awards Events on a Multi-Platform Certificate/Report. Further details of attendees are not required.

Issued May 2016

  • Free Letterbox Delivery - it is clarified that back issues cannot be claimed under this category.

Issued May 2015

  • Reasons to exclude an issue: An additional reason, enabling you to apply for an exclusion, has been added. If, for reasons outside of your control, you remove an issue from distribution early you may apply for this to be excluded from the average if the circulation is significantly affected. 

Issued November 2014

  • Reported Data: The standards have been amended to correct an inconsistency between what was stated and what has been practice for many years. Click on the link above for more details.

Issued May 2014

  • Reporting Periods: Clarification of Reporting Period options for publications newly registered with ABC.

  • Talking Publications: Rules have been added to allow the reporting of Talking Publications on a product’s Multi-Platform Certificate (note: not on the ABC print certificate). 

Issued November 2013

  • Reporting editorial content percentage: The reference to editorial content being identified to the nearest half page has been removed to avoid possible confusion that this means identifying each page on this basis.  

July 2013

  • We have undertaken a major exercise to re-write the Reporting Standards to make them easier to use.

  • After consultation with the industry the new rules have moved to a principle-based approach, allowing for more flexibility to deal with new and changing developments in circulation and verification. We have also harmonised common names and definitions across sectors.

  • Each rule is outlined by a simple definition first, underpinned by its principles and then followed by more detailed requirements. Separate guidance notes provide common examples and applications of achieving the requirements

  • As a result of this exercise some rules have changed, but most are minor changes linked to harmonising and simplifying. Click on the link above to view a document summarising the changes.

  • *Please note*: These changes apply from July 2013, therefore for reporting periods up to and including June 2013 you must use the previous Reporting standards, available in the Reporting Standards Archive.

  • The main change worth noting is the change of definition for Free Letterbox Delivery, which removes the need for mandatory back-checking.

May 2013

  • 12-monthly reporting: Non-daily publications (excluding Sunday publications) can now opt to report on a 12-monthly basis. This is available from the January to December 2013 reporting period. 

March 2012

  • Reporting of editions: For issues distributed on or after 2 January 2012 all editions reported on the ABC certificate will be reported with an average circulation and breakout by circulation type, not just those with a change in ROP (display) advertising which has been the case up to this point.

  • Reporting of editorial content and pagination: From reporting periods beginning January 2012 has been simplified so the analysis is based on the last issue reported in the period (ignoring excluded issues) rather than an average. Other changes include a revised definition of what constitutes advertising and the calculation is to the nearest half page rather than quarter page.

  • Social Media: You can now report a basic measure of social media audience(s) on a product’s ABC Multi-Platform Certificate. Examples of what could be reported are Facebook ‘Likes’ or Twitter ‘Followers’. This can be reported from April 2012.

 September 2011

  • Editions - From the October 2011 audit month: 1) No longer a requirement for separate rate card. 2) Clarification on treatment of wraps. 3) Clarification on reporting of changed format editions.

  • Free Letterbox delivery - From January 2012: Changes to requirements in relation to contract distributors


If you require information on any earlier changes please contact us.