‘There was nobody else left’: Publishers desert AMAA magazine audit

Frankie, RM Williams Outback, Runner’s World and Schwartz Media’s The Monthly are the latest publications to withdraw from the Audited Media Association of Australia’s circulation results.

The news comes eight months after the three major magazine publishers – Pacific Magazines, Bauer Media, and NewsLifeMedia – withdrew from the AMAA, in a move which was said to effectively kill the magazine audit.

“There was nobody else left and we consulted with them along the way for months,” Rebecca Costello, Schwartz Media CEO, told Mumbrella.

She said while the company was up 8.6% year on year in the last audit figures, there was no reason to stay after the major magazine publishers pulled out at the end of last year. 

Costello added the company would see what other publishers do in terms of audits, and will follow suit going forward.

According to the latest ABC figures, just 11 magazines were included in the half-yearly circulation results, excluding newspaper inserts.

For Mark Muller, editor in chief of RM Williams Outback, the issue was the same – it became less relevant when the major publishers pulled out.

“Once the large publishing houses pulled out, AMAA circulation data became a less relevant metric for us in terms of its representation of our competitive place in the market.

“Circulation as a stand-alone when working with advertisers doesn’t stand alone anymore. Readership has always played strongly, and now social media and cross-platform brand engagement fold in to the conversations.

“Paid sales figures are of course still relevant as both a business measure and tool. We’ve always had our own independent audits conducted and will continue to do so, and are open about those numbers.”

However, following the comments, the AMAA pointed out the audit provided a “layer of trust” for publishers.

Figures indicate audit doubles trust factor in print brands, and eight in 10 marketers and agencies agree they ‘prioritise media channels that supply transparent, audited data’ for media spend.

Club Marine Magazine was Australia’s highest circulation audited magazine for the period, with 87,847 across Australia, an increase of 2.33% from the July to December audit period.

Simon McLean, publisher and CEO of Club Marine Magazine said the audit allowed advertisers to accurately determine the effectiveness and validity of a campaign.

“At least in the case of Club Marine, advertisers and industry can be confident that their message will reach what is Australia’s largest audited magazine audience, according to the AMAA,” McLean said.

“The latest AMAA results are confirmation that Club Marine continues to deliver compelling and informative content to its readers, who are remaining loyal to the title at a time when print media is under unprecedented pressure.”

He said Club Marine would remain committed to the AMAA audit process.

Mumbrella has approached Runner’s World for comment. Frankie was unavailable for comment.


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