This story first appears on FOLIO: sister site, minonline.
In an open letter to the MPA and to individual publishers, the Print Media Committee of the 4As is urging the magazine industry to be much more transparent in reporting readership of their tablet editions and interaction metrics for enhanced ads. The letter, signed by Group M managing partner and director of print George Jansen applauds the MPA for its recently issued guidelines for tablet edition reporting, but pointedly asks for greater depth and specificity in distinguishing among the types of tablet readers. In addition to calling on publishers to break out subscription and single-copy tablet edition sales, the group wants more insight into how many digital readers are subscribing from the device and how many are authenticating their print subscriptions for tablet access.
The 4As committee also asked for third party research that measures tablet readership across devices and in a consistent format that measures all publishing companies. The letter very sharply criticized the practice of bundling digital editions as part of overall circulation to meet rate base guarantees even though some advertisers are not themselves choosing to let their print ads run in the tablet editions. “These advertisers should not be charged for circulation they are not purchasing,” the letter states. “Magazines should establish a print ratebase and a digital ratebase, which will give the advertiser the flexibility to purchase the circulation they desire.”
Finally, the letter asks for more and deeper engagement metrics around enhanced tablet ads: “at minimum, average time spent with ‘enhanced’ ads such as video, slideshows, etc.” The committee also wants more data around how people are interacting with hot links in tablet ads.
The 4As committee appears to be responding to the MPA’s April 2 announcement of guidelines for magazine publishers around reporting tablet metrics. At the time, the MPA recommended five metrics: total consumer paid digital issues, total number of tablet readers per issue, total number of sessions per issue, total time spent per reader per issue and average number of sessions per reader per issue. Clearly the advertisers on the 4As committee are not encouraged by the tendency of these guidelines to bundle authenticated subscribers with subscribers acquired in the digital channel.
The letter is reproduced in full at AdAge.com and is signed by Janson as well as some of the leading media buyers at the major agencies, including Starcom’s Brenda White, MediaVest’s Robin Steinberg, PHD’s Alison Howald, among others.
On June 5 the topic issued of advertising in magazine tablet editions will be taken up at the Min Digital Media Summit in a special panel, “What Do Advertisers Want From Tablets, Anyway?” that will include both Brenda White and Allison Howald as well as Brian Stoller of Mindshare and Rachel Pasqua of Mobile Organic.