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The ABC is a non-profit organisation registered in terms of Section 21 of the Companies' Act, based on a bi-partite agreement between advertiser and advertising agencies and media owners.

The primary function is the certification and provision of accurate and comparable circulation figures, to assist the bi-partite groupings (advertisers/marketers and publishers) in the buying and selling of advertising and promotional material. This is achieved through agreement or auditing standards, on the certificates and on the reports submitted.

The affairs of the Bureau are managed by a Board of Directors, elected every year by the Annual General Meeting. The day to day activities of the Bureau are handled by a permanent staff headed by the General Manager.

Publisher members are requested to submit audited figures verifying their circulation, by means of a circulation certificate.

The audit of the certificate must be conducted by a Registered Accountant and Auditor who must have full access to all financial accounts and other relevant records connected with the publication for the purpose of a complete and accurate ABC audit.

The Bureau does random check audits to verify the information prepared by the publisher.