A group of magazine publishers in the United States has drawn up a new voluntary set of guidelines on reporting user data from tablet editions.
The agreement aims to set a "common language" when publishers refer to reader statistics and avoid any confusion or inconsistencies from one publisher to the next.
The guidelines are the result of discussions since last autumn between seven publishing houses: Condé Nast, Bonnier, Forbes, Hearst, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Meredith and Time Inc. Seven advertising agencies also took part in the talks.
US magazine association MPA said the clarifications were intended "to provide enhanced understanding and clarity about the measurement of magazine media audiences on tablets for the advertising community".
MPA chief executive Nina Link said in a release: "The tablet guidelines have been created to recognise the need within the advertising community for greater insight and understanding into how to best leverage this powerful new platform."
The group's chairman Michael Clinton added: "The iPad has been around for two years, while magazine brands have been available on digital newsstands for less than a year.
"In that short period of time, magazine brands have already established a strong relationship with readers. That new experience requires new language and baseline metrics for the magazine media planning community. This initiative will enable a broader understanding of the power of tablet magazines and facilitate faster adoption of tablet advertising."
The publishers have agreed on an initial set of terms and definitions, and have selected five key metrics that they have all pledged to use consistently. These are: total consumer paid digital issues; total number of tablet readers per issue; total number of sessions per issue; total time spent per reader per issue; and the average number of sessions per reader per issue.
The new protocol also aims to provide a consistent position on timing for data release.