It might go some way towards ending the playground-style arguments about which broadsheet newspaper has the biggest reach online (though somehow I doubt it).
So far, Associated Newspapers, Guardian News and Media, News Group Newspapers and Telegraph Media Group have bought into the multi-platform measurement system. But the Mirror, Express, Financial Times and Independent have yet to follow suit. Presumably, the Mirror doesn't want its traffic to be compared too closely with The Sun, The Independent with The Guardian, and the Express with, well, anyone really.
For a system such as this to work, however, everyone has to buy into it, even if it results in some initial embarrassment for those publishers that aren't necessarily at the cutting edge of digital developments. It costs £1 to 2k a month to get an online audit, so it won't break the banks of the newspaper companies, though of course every penny counts at the moment.
And now that newspapers are getting their act together, it is time for magazines to step up to the plate. At Media Week, we introduced an ABCe section in our magazines ABC supplement for the first time last week, and we will continue to highlight the overall reach of magazine properties in forthcoming editions. Clients and agencies want to buy into an overall audience and, to do that, they need to be given accurate data about audiences from media owners.
Some magazines are nervous about releasing their online figures, for fear of media buyers deserting their print products altogether and migrating that spend online instead. But, clinging on Canute-like to glories past is only going to suit publishers for so long. Eventually, the reality of modern media consumption will catch up with them and they have to be brave enough to put their wares on show for all to see, with full information.
The strong brands will continue to prosper, offline and online. The weak will wither and die anyway.