The London-based global media audit firm Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC UK) announced to newspapers through a letter dated 30 March that would stop running audits in the Gulf region for lack of adequate resources to conduct direct auditing, Gulf News reported.
In a letter to newspapers, ABC UK argued that there was an increasing number of publications being launched and a greater demand for audits, and that the company has to focus its main services in the UK market.
ABC UK said the Gulf market should control its owns regulations and adopt its own standards, Gulf News reported on 4 April. “The International Federation of ABCs is willing to assist the Gulf countries in establishing their own auditing bureau,” the non-profit body said in a statement.
The decision comes two weeks after Gulf News announced they had applied for audits with both ABC and BPA Worldwide in an attempt to offer “end-to-end transparency.” The paper challenged other English-speaking publications in UAE to take steps in the same direction
Gulf News called for comprehensive “end-to-end” audits, including details of newsprint imports and consumption, circulation numbers and circulation revenue. These fully transparent audits should check and confirm newspapers' claims of circulation in neighboring countries, said the newspaper.
In 1993 Gulf News dropped from ABC after three years of running audits while questioning the credibility of circulation claims by newspapers using ABC figures.
The ABC withdrawal from the Gulf “confirms our belief that the previous audits offered by ABC could not stand up to intensive scrutiny,” said Obaid Humaid Al Tayer, Managing Director of Al Nisr Group, publishers of Gulf News.
Among the five English-language dailies in the UAE, just two –Emirates Today and Gulf Today – have not yet applied or undertaken an audit while none of the seven Arab-speaking have done so.