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The European press is taking steps to standardize the different national circulation audits.

The Zurich division of the International Federation of Audit Bureaux of Circulations plans to develop the organization's first pan-European auditing standard.

The new research system, expected to be in place next year, will be spearheaded by a development committee formed by the local circulation bureaus in the U.K., Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Switzerland. The IFABC represents 14 bureaus.

The move has been prompted by the increasingly pan-European reach of newspapers and magazines, such as The Financial Times and Wall Street Journal Europe.

"We now buy media across boundaries. But there is no way a media buyer is able to compare newspaper sales [within] the different European countries," explained John Beadell, chief executive of U.K.-based Audit Bureau of Circulations, Berkhamsted, England.

The idea is to produce a Europe-wide sales measuring standard that will not disrupt existing national systems.

"It will run parallel with current procedures, and publications that want to use it will be free to do so," Mr. Beadell added.

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