NEWS21 May 2010

FT follows Times in withdrawing from public ABCe audits

Data analytics UK

UK— The publisher of the Financial Times has followed rival News International in withdrawing its web traffic information from the public release of ABCe-audited data.

News International’s move comes ahead of the introduction of a paywall around the Times Online website, which is expected to lead to a massive drop in visitor numbers.

Much of the FT is already behind a paywall – though it lets users register for free to access 10 articles each month. It said the decision not to participate in public ABCe audits “in their current form” was to do with the fact that “volume traffic measures have become less relevant to our advertisers and agencies”.

“We intend to compete on our ability to deliver specific targeted audiences and the quality of our registered and subscriber readership rather than pure volume,” said a spokesman. “We will however continue to engage in a dialogue with ABC about industry-wide standards and will be supportive of any initiative to evolve audience measurement.”

The statement chimes with one issued by News International at the time of its withdrawal, which said (as reported by The Guardian): “News International continues to subscribe to and support ABCe and is working with ABCe to help evolve metrics related to engagement as the business models evolve.”

ABCe was not available for comment at the time of publication.

Last week the FT introduced a new model for measuring its average daily global audience (ADGA) across print and online. ADGA uses a combination of sources including syndicated national and regional readership surveys, unique user and browser data, the FT’s own reader research and ABC circulation figures, with duplicated consumption removed.

It is also developing an audited global paid-for circulation number, which counts everyone that pays to consume FT content across all platforms.