Highly specific information on sales figures involving digital publishing has always been kept very quiet, with most retailers only releasing very general hints about how their numbers appear to be faring. Everything from the precise units of devices sold to the exact number of ebooks purchased has been closely guarded.
Now, Hearst publishers will be following the lead of Conde Nast, both publishers of popular magazines, in releasing specific information to its advertisers on several key aspects of digital magazine subscriptions. Advertisers will now be able to know such details as how many subscriptions and single-issue magazines sales have been purchased for a tablet or app, as well as how much time users actually spent with the magazine open on their devices.
When Conde Nast first experimented with gathering and distributing this information to a small group of advertisers last summer before opening it up to all of its advertisers in March, the information from users of iPads, Kindle Fires, and Nook Color tablets became available about ten weeks after the magazine issue had been distributed.
Hearst, which charges separately for its print and digital editions (unlike Conde Nast, which began bundling the digital version for its print subscribers), will start out slowly by releasing the number of units sold to iPad users. Eventually, the publishers has plans to start providing advertisers with more information, including how much time users spend interacting with the ads in the issues.
An article for paidContent.org outlined the standards that not only the Association of Magazine Media but also the Audit Bureau of Circulations are expected to put in place later this year which will contain certain expectations of reporting for both monthly and weekly digital magazines.