English-language weekly TheWeek in Oman has become the first paper in
the country to provide audited circulation data to its advertisers. The
aim of the audit is to create more transparency in a market which
traditionally does not reveal information about circulation figures.
BPA Worldwide, a non-profit organization based in the United States
carried out the audit for the newspaper. According to BPA, their audits
provide advertisers with assurance that the newspaper they choose to
invest in, does in fact reach target audiences for specific ads.
APN spoke to
Saleh Zakwani, publisher and CEO of Apex Press and Publishing, which
publishes TheWeek, about why the paper decided to carry out an audit
and its overall aims.
APN: Why did you decide to carry out the audit?
Zakwani: Apex has always been transparent, and we believe that in the
current media scene it has become a necessity. With the number of
publications is increasing, it has become more important for
advertisers to know that they are getting the maximum return on their
advertising money spend. We as publishers owe it to our clients to
provide them with an independent media audit in support of our
circulation claims. While Apex is proud to be the first in the country
in carrying out an external audit for TheWeek, more importantly we hope
that our actions will encourage other publishing houses to do the same
in the interest of better business.
APN: What kind of input was required of the newspaper to carry out the audit?
Zakwani: A lot of data was required for this audit to be completed,
including bulk distribution, delivery notes from the press, worksheets
from Apex, printers invoices with payments from us, Apex’s salary
payments for our full and part time distribution team, and signed
agreements with our media outlets (which count more than 500).
APN: What have been the concrete results of the audit this far?
Zakwani: There has been widespread recognition from the agencies and
customers, which translates into stronger confidence for the
advertisers to place their advertising budget with us.
APN: What do you expect to be the long term results of the audit?
Zakwani: We hope that our advertising will grow and that there is an
increase in confidence amongst our advertisers as the BPA audit
supports our circulation claims. This we hope will encourage our
clients to spend more of their advertising budget in TheWeek.
APN: Why do so few Arab newspapers carry out audits?
Zakwani: The concept of auditing is relatively new in this part of the
world, with the natural resistance to change and the fear of the
outcome. With the increasing demands of advertisers to see support of
publisher’s claims, we expect changes to occur shortly within the GCC
Apex’s other English publications, Oman Today and
BusinessToday, will also be audited in the future. Apex has also
applied for audit for its Arabic weekly paper Al Isbou’a.
Copies of the initial BPA Worldwide audit report for TheWeek will be
available from BPA Worldwide or the publisher. TheWeek will be issuing
semi-annual circulation statements in the standard BPA Worldwide
To visit the website of Apex Press and Publishing, click here
To visit the website of BPA Worldwide, click here