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Independent Media's circulation figures were not inflated

Independent Media (Independent) has found it sadly necessary to correct the erroneous reporting carried by TimesLive, BizNews and The Media Online, regarding the recent ABC adjustment of Independent Media's circulation figures.
As the factually incorrect reports appear to be aimed at causing reputational damage to the group, it is important that Independent Media put forward the actual facts, which are as follows:
  1. Independent Media's circulation numbers were not inflated.

  2. The copies in question are PMIE copies (Print Media In Education), which form part of the Group's Corporate Social Investment initiative, promoting literacy in schools in previously disadvantaged communities.

  3. Upon review of the numbers, ABC did not agree with the inclusion of these copies as sales below 50% of the cover price, as they were sponsored by a Group entity, which was part of broader CSI initiatives. ABC rules state such copies should be funded by third parties and not via the Group.

  4. At the time of reporting, Independent was not aware of the ownership of the sponsoring party being connected to Independent Media. Since then, Independent has rectified the situation and has obtained a new sponsor.

  5. There is no doubt that all copies (originally reported on) were delivered and read widely. Therefore, there is no question over the total number of copies delivered. It is just that the ABC board was not happy with the funding mechanism of the copies in question, as stated above.

  6. When it comes to advertisers and PMIE copies, please note that advertisers still get coverage, because all copies are delivered and reach readers (as verified by auditors).

  7. Independent Media is a reputable publishing organisation of many years standing, with a team of dedicated professionals. As such, the organisation is fully aware of the ABC rule regarding sponsorship and has always adhered to that however, as noted above, this instance was an inadvertent exception, which has subsequently been addressed.

  8. The ABC board has determined there was no deliberate flouting of the rule.

  9. Independent Media is in agreement with the revised figures as stated by the ABC.

  10. The final outcome of the ABC board’s audit and investigation is that no further sanctions will be imposed on the affected titles, as it was clear from the submission that there was no intent on the part of the affected titles to deliberately submit misleading data.
In conclusion, Independent Media hopes that this also assists other publishers in determining the veracity of their own circulation figures.

23 Jul 2019 14:28

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