A rule that determines magazine circulation details could have scuppered publishers plans to bring their titles to the iPad.
The Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) change means that magazine publishers in the US and Canada will be not need to make their digital edition layout identical to their print edition, but will be able to combine the circulation of both in one overall figure.
Now that this has been changed, magazines can count iPad or other e-reader subscriptions in their circulation. This is likely to lead to higher circulation figures than currently, and may justify raising advertising rates. Thereby making more profit overall.
Another change to the rules means the layout of the digital edition can be different from the print edition, so publishers can create versions better suited to the iPad. One rule stays in place, however, the editorial content has to stay the same; otherwise that magazine cannot count it in circulation.
The iPad is a great opportunity for magazine digital editions as it offers a new channel for tailored advertisements. It also means publishers will be able to generate extra revenue from those who pay for their digital subscription to a magazine.
The industry is looking for ways to increase revenue as the public is adverse to buying for online content. "ABC's action is good news and a timely step forward for both publishers and advertisers in advance of the iPad launch," said Brenda White, senior vice president of publishing activation at Starcom and an ABC board member, according to MediaWeek.
"It's encouraging to see magazines expanding their brands and taking advantage of new technology. It will take some time, but I'm confident that e-readers and other mobile devices are going to become important channels for marketers to engage with their audiences," she added.
The bureau believes this will encourage magazine publications to seek ABC evaluations before publishing their digital edition. Under the bureau's new guidelines, Wired magazine published their first digital edition for the iPad and other e-readers.
Some magazines, including GQ, have already decided to create an app for the iPhone and iPod touch that abides by the new ABC guidelines.