New protocol developed for Nielsen to more accurately reflect magazine revenue

The times they are a-changin’ in print media land. Display ads are harder to come by and publishers are being forced to come up with creative solutions to help brands spread their gospel. And, to reference the increasing amount of revenue such creative executions contribute to the magazine industry’s coffers, the MPA has agreed to a new protocol that it hopes will capture more of the spend occurring in magazines for Nielsen’s Advertising Information Services.

Lynley Belton, chair of the Magazine Publisher’s Association, says it not particularly revolutionary, but the use of codes to show the distinction between display ads and other paid-for content like sponsored supplements or advertorials will take some of the guesswork out of the equation for Nielsen and will more accurately reflect the money being brought in by the sector. So, from Jan 2012, if activity in a magazine is paid it will carry the code ADV2012 and that will obviously change each year.

While Belton didn’t want to estimate what proportion of the industry’s revenue now came from the likes of advertorials or brand-funded content and how much that has increased in recent years, there’s no doubt it is becoming a much bigger part of the solution for many publishers, many of whom might be told there’s no budget for a print ad but might get clients across the line for much bigger totals if they pitch a good, tailor-made idea.

In some ways, there are similarities between this and the online realm, which had to use estimation methodology on the level of Facebook advertising until earlier this year, even though it was a big and growing chunk of the pie.

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