ABC modifies definition of digi mag

The auditing bureau has changed the definition of what constitutes a digital magazine in light of new applications and devices, such as the Apple iPad.

GQ has done it, and so has Wired, and now the Audit Bureau of Circulations has redefined what it means to be a digital magazine in an increasingly mobile world.

The bureau announced this morning that it has modified its definition in the US and Canada. Previously, a digital edition of a magazine had to be identical in presentation to its sister print edition, but the new standards state that while the magazine still must include identical editorial and advertising, the layout can be modified. ABC said in a release on the announcement that replica editions of print pubs ‘will continue to be included in a magazine’s circulation guarantee, or rate base.’

The move comes as digital editions of magazines continue to build hype in the US in the ramp-up to the release of the Apple iPad, which goes on sale April 3 in the US. Pre-orders for the device started last Friday. No date has been set yet for the Canadian release of the device.

Joan Brehl, VP and GM, brand leadership and innovation at the Toronto ABC office, said the organization will continue to review the definition of digital publications as they evolve, but the board felt this was a good move to make at this time.

‘It goes back to the evolving nature of media, new channels of distribution and new access for consumers, and recognizing and evolving with the marketplace,’ she says. ‘There’s still more work to be done in that area, but this is a good step forward.’

Brehl added that it is likely digital editions of magazines will be an issue on the table as the new Canadian Digital Advisory Committee meets this spring. The committee is chaired by Toronto-based digital agency 58Ninety’s CEO and partner Ted Boyd, and includes Gilad Coppersmith of OMD and Matt Devlin of ZenithOptimedia.