The Week becomes first Omani title to seek audit

Oman is the latest country in the Middle East to join the auditing bandwagon after weekly freesheet The Week joined BPA Worldwide, making it the first publication in the Sultanate to apply for a circulation audit.

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By  Tim Addington Published  October 30, 2005

Oman is the latest country in the Middle East to join the auditing bandwagon after weekly freesheet The Week joined BPA Worldwide, making it the first publication in the Sultanate to apply for a circulation audit. Published every Wednesday, The Week, from Apex Press and Publishing, has a print run of 51,000 and covers local news, business, entertainment and sport. “While we have always chosen to be transparent, I believe that in the current media scene, transparency is a necessity,” said Saleh Zakwani, publisher of The Week. “As the number of publications increases in the market, it becomes doubly important for the advertiser to know whether he is getting good value for his advertising Rial. “We, as publishers, owe it to our clients to provide them with an independent media audit in support of our circulation claims. We are proud to be the ones to show the way.” The publishers decided to audit the title after other newspapers and magazines in Oman inflated their claimed print run figures after The Week increased the number of copies it printed each week, they allege. “We are pleased that The Week has applied for membership in BPA Worldwide,” said BPA president and CEO Glenn Hansen. “We applaud publishers in this region for providing their advertisers and prospects with the solid assurance of an independent circulation audit conducted according to our world-respected, uncompromising standards. “With a BPA audit, media buyers can be confident that circulation claims are accurate and that they have the verified data that they need to assess a publication’s effectiveness in serving its market.” Apex also publishes monthly titles, including Business Today and Oman Today. The news comes as politics and business magazine The Middle East revealed the results of its audit. The monthly magazine, produced from the UK by IC Publications, has a net circulation of 15,077 according to figures from the London-based Audit Bureau of Circulation. The figures cover the period from 1 January to 31 December last year. The 68-page English language magazine has been published since 1974. Its owners claim that 54% of the magazines are distributed across the Gulf states, and it has a readership of some 120,000. The ABC audit shows that 6632 copies of the title are sold at its cover price of US$4.25, with a further 960 subscription sales. Regular bulk sales make up 2098 and 5189 copies are given away for free. Of the 15,077 copies circulated each month, 2643 are in the UK and Ireland with the rest distributed across the world. Omar Ben Yedder, associate group publisher at IC Publications, said: “Some publishers use their print run as their circulation figure; we wanted to be out there with a certified circulation figure because people are making wild circulation claims. “The market in the Gulf is maturing quickly and the ABC is simply part of this process. Even though obtaining the certificate has been hard work, it has been a helpful exercise and, we hope, a good investment. It is important therefore that, as the market matures, the media agencies can follow suit.” The magazine claims that 53% of its readers are CEOs, senior managers or company directors, with 81% having graduate or postgraduate degrees. It also claims that the average personal income its readers is US$93,941. Ben Yedder added: “Ultimately the marketing directors within the companies who are looking to advertise need to be savvy. They need to be more careful and demanding as to where their money is being spent. The shotgun with a hunch approach is not always the most effective.”

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