The Audit Bureau of Circulations [ABC] released survey results Monday that reveals attitudes of the publishing industry when in it comes to working with Apple Inc.

According to the poll, entitled “Going Mobile: How Publishers are Maturing and Monetizing Their Offerings,” most publishers are pushing forth with their efforts to be available on Apple products—about 62 percent of respondents say they have an iPhone app and 44 percent say they have an app enabled for the iPad.

At the same time, just 8 percent of those questioned view Apple’s tactics as favorable to publishers, with many still expressing “frustration with the company’s fees and consumer information policies,” a news release from ABC says. Around 42 percent say the industry needs to find alternative options to Apple to have success in the future.

“There’s a disconnect there,” says Neal Lulofs, executive vice president and general manager of ABC Interactive. “It’s a representation of the influence that Apple has in the market place with the number of devices that are out there. I suspect we’ll begin to see that statistic change—I’m seeing lots favorable reports about Apple’s Newsstand in terms of uptake and subscriptions there. I think some of this is a legacy for when the special magazine publishers first began developing app based subscription models so I suspect you’ll begin to see this change.”

While an apparent disconnect does exist, the survey revealed that publishers are not relying solely on Apple—about 85 percent of survey respondents currently have mobile content for smartphones, e-readers or tablet devices, a 9 percent increase over last year. Additionally, of the publishers with apps, 34 percent are earning revenue from Amazon’s Kindle.

“Apple is clearly a market share leader so as other devices come to market, like some of the Android based tablets, there’s just a general transition going on right now for the digital app subscription world and I think you’ll begin to see it level out in the future,” says Lulofs. “Two years ago, before word began to leak out that Apple was developing a tablet, Apple was still seen as the most influential vendor in the market place so maybe it’s just a credit to their devices.”

When it comes to competing iPad devices, the industry is continuing to weigh its options.

“At least from what we’re seeing at the macro level, it’s not that publishers will be abandoning Apple but they are being more inclusive of the devices that are out there,” he says. The survey found that 73 percent of publishers say readers are most likely to get content from a tablet or an e-reader.
“Publishers are going to make themselves available in all channels and market to all channels and devices,” says Lulofs.

ABC and Adobe Accreditation

The growing importance of the digital space can be seen from ABC’s survey results and industry attitudes—the company also announced Monday that ABC Interactive is working to accredit Adobe Systems Inc.’s new digital measurement tool, AudienceResearch.

“We’ve been working with Adobe for a number of years,” says Lulofs. “We recognize some things that were happening in the market place so we began thinking of ways to collaborate on some of these initiatives.”

The AudienceResearch tool measures online usage metrics from Adobe’s analytics application, ABC will conduct audits of several publishers using Adobe certified data.

“With this new AudienceResearch capability and building in what they call certified metrics into their data, we agreed we have a lot of customers in common in the magazine and newspaper space so we wanted to look at some ways to work together on bringing audited numbers to the market place,” he says. “We are a non-profit association so we are vendor neutral and we try to work with as many vendors as we can. In the last few years we have worked closely with small mobile publishing firms like Hanmark, Verve and Localytics. It’s all part of the same environment to the extent that magazines are working with some of these app developers and want to figure out a way their numbers can be audited and reported by ABC.”

The partnership is designed to leverage Adobe’s Omniture to provide a more comprehensive approach to detailed audited metrics.

Using Audience Engagement Data to Improve Editorial Content
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