Publishers expand presence on tablet apps, need to report digital circulation

There were 9,125 magazine-related apps available for download this October, a figure that more than doubles the 4,299 available only a year before, according to an analysis from McPheters and Co. iMonitor. In an industry that’s striving to be innovative, digital and profitable, magazine publishers are committed to using tablet apps as a viable channel for their content. Unsurprisingly, Hearst is the leader among group publishers with 89 apps, followed by Time (84), Conde Nast (83) and Future Media (82).

However, of all the magazine apps available for download, only 256 are reporting their digital circulation in Alliance for Audited Media (formerly Audit Bureau of Circulations) reports. Among those reporting circulation, digital versions accounted for 1.7% of overall magazine circulation in the first half of 2012, or 5.4 million. A year ago, that number was less than 1%, or about 2 million.

With such a small sample size of apps, we have to take the statement “digital magazine circulation is growing” with a grain of salt, but it does brings a larger issue to the surface. Publishers are still in the early days of reporting circulation figures for their apps. They’re quickly adding more and more, but they’re not providing key metrics that are necessary for advertisers making media planning decisions.

In the SRDS Tablet Media Library, we are constantly adding to our growing list of over 1,400 media apps that accept advertising. We include apps for iOS, Zinio, Android, Nook as well as tablet browser-based advertising opportunities.

Publishers: Does your media property now have an app? Do you report circulation figures?

Agencies: Do you need audience metrics before you’ll consider an app for your plan?

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