Recognizing the fluid state of digital magazine publishing, the ABC board of directors has just modified a key requirement for qualifying a “replica” digital edition. Advertising in the print and digital editions no longer needs to be identical.

Up to now, the requirement for digital editions to retain identical content, whether advertising or editorial, was born out of the early days of PDF versions of print magazines. Now, however, as the capabilities of digital editions have expanded, so has the production process. Ad materials are no longer simply repurposed from print to digital.

“Early magazine digital editions were commonly PDFs of the print version, so ABC required a digital replica to be just that—an exact version of the print issue,” said ABC president Mike Lavery in a statement. “But with today’s advanced publishing software for tablet devices, the environment is far richer and more complex.”

With all that reformatting, advertisers, agencies and publishers are often faced with a bottleneck during the materials delivery and approval process, stressing the deadlines of the digital edition and potentially jeopardizing that issue’s audit status. “The new parameters simplify the process, make the advertiser’s intent clear, and streamline the audit requirements,” added Lavery.

Helping that streamlining is another rule change: Publishers do not have to obtain an opt-out confirmation from advertisers who can’t get their materials into the digital edition in time or don’t want their print ad to appear in that format. According to the ABC, editorial content and photography must remain identical.

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