T3 iPad app screenshot

Future Publishing's technology gadget magazine T3 recorded an average digital circulation of more than 17,000 downloads of its tablet edition issues in the first half of this year.

This was the highest digital circulation recorded by the Audit Bureau of Circulation in its six month report for consumer magazines, released today.

Unlike other titles, Future decided to report the results for the iPad edition separately to the ABC digital editions analysis, on which Cosmopolitan magazine was highest with a monthly average of more than 13,000.

According to a release from ABC, the digital editions statistics relate to "direct replicas of the print version", whereas T3 wanted to emphasise the fact its iPad edition "is distinct from the print brand and comes complete with specific interactive advertising".

It therefore reported its digital statistics via a Digital Publication Certificate instead, becoming the first brand to do so. The certificate shows an average monthly digital circulation of 17,682 for the first half of 2012.

"The issue-by-issue breakdown shown on the certificate reveals circulation growth across the period of almost 25 per cent", a release adds.

"Other Future brands including Total Film, Edge and MacFormat will be publishing Digital Publications Certificates at the next concurrent release in February 2013."

However Journalism.co.uk understands that the digital edition circulations reported for other magazines are comparable as all titles were audited in the same way.

The digital editions list, which T3 would have topped had it been included, shows Cosmopolitan magazine recording the next highest circulation of audited paid-for digital editions in the first half of 2012, overtaking Men's Health.

Cosmopolitan, which is published by Hearst Magazines UK, recorded an average monthly digital circulation of 13,298, compared to 5,675 in the second half of 2011.

Men's Health recorded a digital edition circulation of 12,142, compared to the leading circulation of 7,779 in the second half of 2011.

In a release Hearst Magazines UK said in total the publisher "has sold more than 350,000 digital editions across the period with titles such as Cosmopolitan and Men’s Health regularly occupying up to half of the top 10 Apple Newsstand iPhone chart positions".

Ella Dolphin, group publishing director for Cosmopolitan said in an emailed statement to Journalism.co.uk that "the growth of digital editions shows the appetite for powerful and trusted brands on emerging platforms and quality content is the key driver for uptake".

"One of the biggest reasons for purchase we’ve seen from Cosmopolitan women is it’s portable – Cosmo on the go. Tablets and smart phones are part of their lives and enables them to access our content whenever they want, not just when they are passing a newsagent."

She added: "I envisage the digital editions will grow again in line with tablet uptake and this will likely be a mixture of existing print buyers and new recruits to the brand."

The latest ABC results placed Conde Nast Publications magazine GQ next, with an increase in digital circulation from 5,731 in the second half of 2011 to 9,652.

A number of new rules for reporting digital editions were introduced in the first half of this year, with publishers allowed to include up to 25 per cent more editorial content in digital editions than is in the print editions, although 95 per cent of the original print editorial must remain.

In the second half of 2011 ABC had warned that the launch of Apple Newsstand during the reporting period meant some Newsstand iPad editions may have seen a lower figure in their ABC audit than individual issues obtained due to averaging.

The rules were also slightly different in 2011, with a digital edition said to be allowed up to 5 per cent more of less editorial compared to the print edition.

The top ten magazines based on average digital edition circulations (which does not include T3's results) audited by ABC in the first half of 2012 are listed below:

Cosmopolitan, Hearst Magazines UK, 13,298
Men's Health, Hearst-Rodale, 12,142
GQ, Conde Nast Publications Ltd, 9,652
How It Works, Imagine Publishing, 9,185
The Economist - Continental Europe Edition, The Economist Newspaper Ltd, 9,150
Total Film, Future Publishing Ltd, 8,108
The Economist - Asia Pacific Edition, The Economist Newspaper Ltd, 8,006
BBC Good Food, Immediate Media Company, 7,346
Elle (UK), Hearst Magazines UK, 6,795
Harpers Bazaar, Hearst Magazines UK, 6,242

Free daily newsletter

If you like our news and feature articles, you can sign up to receive our free daily (Mon-Fri) email newsletter (mobile friendly).