Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Digital sales data cause for nightmares

Image source: CDS Global, image of print subscription report

In a recent story by Audience Development, the nightmarish state of digital magazine sales data is revealed. For those working in circulation, digital newsstand results can be even harder to come by than those for print copies, and are much harder to digest.

Apparently, digital storefronts such as Apple, Kobo and Zinio all use different reports, and nothing is standardized. Zinio is the only one that offers any kind of automated dashboard, but none of the vendors use an existing fulfillment system.

Whatever reports they send, publishers have to decipher and massage the data to glean any sort of useful information.

Thankfully, there are groups working to fix this problem. CDS Global, for example, aims to collect sales and subscription data from all of the digital newsstand providers, standardize it, provide sales and revenue recognition and track it.

But for the average publisher trying to track their digital sales, it's likely going to be some hefty Excel handiwork for a while yet.

Have you figured out a digital circ system that works for your magazine? Share, share!

--- Colleen Seto