Publications join race to be audited

More than a dozen more Dubai-based publications have joined, or are set to join, the Audit Bureau of Circulation UK, Campaign can reveal.

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By  Tim Addington Published  February 5, 2006

More than a dozen more Dubai-based publications have joined, or are set to join, the Audit Bureau of Circulation UK, Campaign can reveal. The names of the titles, which include both newspapers and magazines, will be announced over the next month, according to Martyn Gates, director of newspaper and consumer magazines at ABC UK. The news comes as the Gulf News, widely regarded as the leading English language newspaper in the UAE, gave the strongest indication yet that it would undertake a circulation audit. Duleep George, marketing and sales director at Gulf News, said: “We are looking at all the options at this point in time. We haven’t yet finalised anything, but we will do in early February.” George refused to give details on which audit body was in the frame to undertake any Gulf News audit, saying only he had met “with them all”. Any decision by Gulf News to be audited will be seen as a victory for the Circulation Audit Steering Organisation, which is made up of media buyers, members of the IAA and the GCC Association of Advertisers. Castor has threatened to pull advertising from publications that are not audited or have at least applied for an audit from the start of next year. Gates said that, while Castor’s announcement had not immediately resulted in publishers joining either ABC or BPA Worldwide, it was “having an effect”. “People are signing up and there is interest. It is fair to say publishers have been speaking to us, and I am sure they have been speaking to the BPA, for a while anyway. Castor coming out and saying what they have done has kept the ball rolling.” But he added: “I think it would be wrong to suggest publishers are running to the phone saying, ‘Castor has said this, we must now act’. “But the call is let’s have accountability, let’s have measurement and I think Castor saying what they have has helped the whole argument.” Gates also questioned whether the region’s biggest ad spenders would hold firm to their decision to boycott titles that were not audited. “There may be publishers waiting to see what happens. Because with all of these things, will the whole of the market go with it?” he said. “If only 10% of the market goes with it in 12 months’ time are the buyers only going to go with that 10%? They have said they will, but that obviously becomes difficult.” He said that ABC will be helping to raise awareness about circulation audits across the region through a series of speeches and workshops during the year. He said: “In the UK there is already an element of faith and confidence in the currency. I think in Dubai there is a little bit of confusion of what an audit is.”

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