News Corp boss says industry needs to debate the value of audited sales figures

The value of audited sales figures, both print and digital, is an issue that needs to be debated by the publishing industry, according to the boss of News Corp Australia.

Speaking with Mumbrella, Michael Miller said following the withdrawal of rival publisher Fairfax Media from the digital audit, there is a “good debate that needs to be had with clients, agencies and publishers”.

Michael Miller

Michael Miller: There is a “good debate that needs to be had with clients, agencies and publishers”

Fairfax Media withdrew its mastheads The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Australian Financial Review from the digital audit, reporting “0”, as it was Fairfax’s view the audited figures were not something advertisers had been demanding.

Damian Eales, managing director – metro and regional publishers at News Corp Australia, had already questioned the validity of the audit process following Fairfax’s departure, telling The Australian: “The Fairfax action raises the question about the validity of the whole audit process, going forward – digital and print.

“The reality is that media buyers and advertisers aren’t interested in circulation. They plan media based on the audience that reads a paper, not the number of papers printed.”

Damian Eales

Damian Eales: “The reality is that media buyers and advertisers aren’t interested in circulation”

According to Miller, News Corp is “increasingly talking about audiences”.

“The EMMA metric is maturing and getting traction – maybe a bit slower then we would have liked, but it is becoming accepted as the standard,” he said.

“How relevant is sales in a market that talks audience? We talk audience – whether it be readers or viewers – that’s far more comparable with other media who also talk audience. You don’t talk about how many TVs are sold.

“Whether the Audit Bureau is the long-term future of the industry is probably a debate that needs to be had.”emma_LockUp_Enhanced_Media_Metrics_Aus_RGB_Web_Only-738x237


On how many media agencies are now using the EMMA metric, Miller was coy on the actual figure but did say it had grown.

“Definitely the majors are, definitely the clients are, I think the product art is helping with that,” he said.

Miller said the value of print sales being audited also needs to be part of the debate.

“The approach we took with EMMA and that we take with our partners is we get feedback and understand relevance. It’s costly; it’s not a cheap process to be counting every paper that is sold,” he said.

“I question whether it’s being used as data to make decisions around advertising. The data that clients have now, and that we have through our Quantium offering, is far more valued then maybe sales data. I’d prefer to be putting our effort into areas that are being used.”


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.