UPDATED: Compared to Jeremy Whittle, editor of Highbury's Procycling, Tony Farelly, editor of Future's Cycling Plus, has a decidedly different stance on the reliance of audited sales figures...

Mag editors disagree about importance of ABC audits

Earlier this week, Jeremy Whittle quizzed BikeBiz.com on the story about the sales success of Cycling Plus. See link below.

Tony Farelly has now responded in kind:

"I’m a long time admirer of Procycling and I’ve certainly got to applaud Jeremy Whittle’s chutzpah. Come ABC time most mags that don’t have a certificate usually prefer not to advertise the fact that unlike their competitors they have no independently audited sales figures to back up their claims to advertisers.

"On the other hand maybe he is missing a trick. If Pro had a ‘50,000 global monthly sale’ six months ago surely they should have gone out and got an ABC certificate for the six month to June? Maybe they don’t realise that overseas sales count too?

"Had they turned their claims into facts we could all have applauded ‘the real picture’ of Pro’s global readership and the BikeBiz.com story would no doubt have headlined on Pro’s stunning sales performance. And seeing as Cycle Sport ABCd at around 20,000 (a significant proportion being overseas sales) Pro would have been able to prove they were selling two and a half time more copies every month than their main compeititor.

"It’s surely a strategic error not to get that sort of proof out?

"Being a global magazine sounds great (here at C+ we’re happy to focus on the UK market), though even with a claimed sale of 50,000 it sounds like Pro is spreading itself a bit thinly? How many are UK sales, 10,000 possibly? Claimed sales that is.

"Oh, and UK ABC certificates aren’t ‘meaningless’ to the majority of UK advertisers. For UK distributors, an accurate representation of a magazine’s market share by location is vital ? They want proof that their advertising spend is going to reach as many UK readers as possible.

"Because we’ve got an ABC certificate we can give them that proof, it’s also why BikeBiz.com can state that we are the fastest growing cycling mag in Britain and why we can slap that FACT on our cover at every possible opportunity. Unlike Pro we can back up our claims with independently audited proof. If only they’d got that ABC certificate…"

In reply, Jeremy Whittle said:

"It’s nice to hear that Tony reckons I have chutzpah and I thank him for that – but I don’t agree with what he says.

"I don’t want to get into a parochial sledging match with another UK editor, because, unlike Cycling Plus, our market is international — just, as I said, like the sport we report on. While we respect Cycling Plus, we don’t see that, globally, we share the same editorial objectives.

"It sounds like Tony and I are unlikely to see eye to eye because of our differences in our business ethos and ambition. Our advertising clients are very happy to be in our pages and to build their association with procycling’s brand and its reputation for producing a dynamic and consistently high-quality product that has a widespread international audience.

"If proof is needed, look at our numerous ad pages, look at our long-standing relationship with the Tour de France organisation, look at the legendary riders who have graced our pages and invited us into their homes, and look at our growth into new markets, such as North America and Germany."

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