Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Reader's Digest Canada focussing even more on print while U.S. parent flounders

Reader's Digest Association (Canada) Ltd.says that it is doubling down on print, investing the money it saved by last year shutting its direct marketing division. Phillipe Cloutier, the general manager, told the Globe and Mail 
“We’ve taken the approach to walk away from our direct marketing catalogue business and reinvesting that in the magazine business. We used to sell a variety of products, books and merchandise. But the digital transformation means that’s no longer sustainable from a profitability standpoint. … We have a plan to maintain subscriptions around 500,000.”
The Canadian operation, independent of the U.S. parent -- which just filed for bankruptcy protection for the second time in four years -- has seen its paid subscription base slip 15 per cent  to 472,883 in the last six months of last year. The drop meant it went from its long-held  claim to be Canada's largest circulation magazine to third, behind Chatelaine and Canadian Living

One of the ways it is buttressing its print business is to start Taste of Home Canada magazine, a Canadianized version of the successful U.S. brand (see earlier post).
The Canadian company has added sales staff to its roster of 140 employees in an effort to increase the advertising in its pages. And while it has developed tablet versions of its magazines, it hopes to keep users hooked on the printed copies by embedding each copy with technology that will allow readers with smartphones to find enhanced content online. 
“We recognize customer needs are changing,” Mr. Cloutier said. “Print is eroding, but I feel print will always be there.”


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