By Tim Burrowes
Sometimes I’m glad I’m just a hack. The business side of magazines doesn’t look like much fun to me.
Don’t punish the media owners for being audited|~||~||~|Sometimes I’m glad I’m just a hack. The business side of magazines doesn’t look like much fun to me.
Imagine you’re a small magazine publisher. You’ve done okay over the last couple of years — your title is of reasonable quality and the advertisers like it. But a rival kept claiming to have a bigger print run than you. You knew he was lying but you couldn’t prove it. So you played him at his own game and inflated your own claimed circulation too.
The problem is, everyone is suddenly talking about auditing circulations. One of your international advertisers has told its media agency to stop giving you the business and give it to audited titles instead. Others are threatening to follow suit.
But if you get audited, everyone is going to know your print run is less than you said. Your enemies will use it to attack you and your agency will ask for a discount as you’re apparently delivering a smaller audience than before.
Tough, huh? Yet that’s how it is for many Middle East publishers right now. And, as we report on page 3, that’s going to be the hidden agenda for many of them at Wednesday’s meeting to talk about audits.
Yet this is not just an issue for media owners — media agencies and advertisers are just as keen to find a route to transparency. The whole industry needs to find a non-bloody way to make this happen.
If the industry wants to be seen as grown up, it’s going to need to behave in a mature way over the next few months.
As more and more titles get audited, their rivals should resist the immediate temptation to crow over past discrepancies.
And media agencies must resist beating up those who lead the way in auditing — otherwise there will be little incentive for others to follow suit.
There needs to be a brief amnesty in which media owners can get their houses in order. Then the industry can concentrate its firepower on those who have not got on board with auditing. They must really have something to hide.||**||