In a first, the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) — an independent body that provides audited newspaper and magazine circulation — is foraying into the measurement of digital properties, to track audience in the online space.

The service, which is being powered by Nielsen, will go live from the third quarter of 2016. It will track audience across PC and mobile devices, providing the media industry with measurement of online text content, as well as key performance metrics such as reach, frequency and demographics. This measurement service will add to ABC's existing circulation audit service for publications.

"The rate at which spends are shifting to digital, it has now become imperative to have a transparent system for understanding digital audiences, whether they are accessing information on websites or apps, from their PCs, tablets or mobile phones," said Shashidhar Sinha, chairman, ABC.

The service will give advertisers and agencies a comprehensive picture and measure of return on investment for their digital spends. "For the digital property owners community, the industry backed numbers will lend credibility and provide a massive boost to their growing digital presence," said Prashant Singh, managing director, Nielsen India Region. Hormuzd Masani, secretary general, ABC, added that the service will also bring about standardisation and higher accountability in measuring the digital consumer base.