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ROI Paid Newspapers - rule changes

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This section details the changes to the ROI Paid Newspapers 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 April 2017

  • Excluded issues: The ability to exclude an issue of a paid for publication from the average circulation due to a local bank holiday has been amended to those issues where sales are affected by a local public holiday, evidenced either by publication on an official local authority website or by virtue of a long-standing custom/tradition previously recognised by ABC. 

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

  • Digital Editions - you can now include live social media feeds, news and video feeds. The principle of a Digital Edition being inert once published has been removed, and editorial can be updated after publication, as long as at least 75% of the editorial from the print parent is present at any point in the Digital Edition.

  • Multiple Copy Sales - you can now claim Multiple Copy Sales outside UK and ROI.

Issued December 2015

  • Actively Purchased - Digital Editions: With effect from Reporting Periods ending 31st December 2015 total Actively Purchased copies will be reported for Digital Edition copies as they are for print.

    • Note: If you are calculating whether you can exclude an issue because its sale is affected by reasons outside your control, you will use the combined print and Digital Edition Actively Purchased figures for the relevant issues.

  • Print only subscriptions not available: Where print only subscriptions are not available and a print Basic Annual Rate (BAR) does not exist (for example where subscriptions are only available as a print and digital package), you may now use, for ABC purposes, an “alternative BAR” figure, which is set at 75% of the annualised print cover price. 

Issued September 2015

  • Gift subscriptions – Digital Edition requirements: You can now claim gift subscriptions for Digital Editions. If purchased for at least 20% of Basic Annual Rate you only need the recipient’s email address instead of a postal address to claim a Digital Edition gift subscription. It is clarified that these Gift Subscriptions will be treated as being in the same geographical location as the purchaser making the gift.

  • Multiple Copy Sales - Hotel cap: The cap for hotels in Dublin has been increased to 80% of the bedrooms.

Guidance Update - August 2015

  • Retail Promotions - Guidance on discounts / cash reimbursements: Clarification of how in-store promotions that result in discounts or cash reimbursements affect the reporting of the publication for ABC purposes.

  • Retail promotions - Guidance on clarification of clear and conspicuous pricing: Clarification of what is clear and conspicuous pricing when a publication is sold in-store as part of a bundle or package with other products.

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 sale/distribution early you may apply for this to be excluded from the average if the circulation is significantly affected.

  • Multiple Copy Sales – minimum price for short-term deals: We have clarified the existing requirements for short-term multiple copy sales deals by stating the number of issues rather than the period that determines whether a deal must meet a higher minimum price to be claimed.

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

  • Identification of the Audit Issue: Clarification of treatment when two issues fall an equal distance from the designated date.

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

  • Digital Editions: optional reporting of Publication Active Views (in addition to circulation) for Digital Editions on the Paid Newspaper Certificate.

  • 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 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.

  • Some of the main changes worth noting are:

    1. Merging of the two Multiple Copy Sales categories into one (but retaining a breakout of short-term arrangements). 

    2. Re-naming of some categories: Newstrade to Retail Sales: Non-Postal Subscriptions to Voucher Subscription Sales: In-House Controlled Direct Delivery to Publisher Controlled Direct Delivery.

Issued June 2012

  • 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 2012 reporting period. 

Issued 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.

  • Paid Postal Subscriptions – reporting of copies outside Ireland and the UK: From reporting periods beginning January 2012 the requirement to break out paid postal subscriptions outside Ireland and the UK is removed if they are less than 5% of the total average figure claimed in the category Newstrade, Single Copy and Subscription Sales.

  • Single copy sales – counter sales (non-daily publications): For issues distributed on or after 2 January 2012 publishers of non-daily publications are allowed to treat their counter sales made in a week as a sale of that week’s issue, simplifying the record keeping needed. This will alleviate the need to record separately by issue the counter sales of different issues.

  • Exclusion of copies purchased by press cutting agencies: For issues distributed on or after 2 January 2012 the requirement to exclude copies purchased by press cutting agencies is removed. 

  • 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.

Issued 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.


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