Publication: Reader's Digest
What's happened?: It has relaunched
Owner: Reader's Digest Association
In the relaunched October issue of Reader's Digest, a corner of the diminutive title's cover tells the world that it has a "new look". This may or may not be connected to its recent performances in the ABCs.
On the face of it, the Digest has a healthy monthly circulation of 638,693 copies. However, the latest ABCs show that the title has seen its circulation drop by 9.7% year on year. While this figure may seem daunting for the Digest, it only goes to highlight how media fragmentation is not just limited to the fickle young.
This relaunch, combined with an increased presence in selected retail outlets, such as Waitrose and M&S, is the adopted tactic to stop the over-50s jumping ship. So let's start with the big changes. Size: the old version came in a compact, birthday card-sized format of about 170 pages. The overhauled Digest shares the same dimensions and pagination. Design: only some detailed forensic analysis could uncover any major changes. Production value: well, the paper stock still seems to be at the cheaper end of the gsm scale.
- So what are the key changes?
Reader's Digest has resisted pumping millions into the development of new colours and layouts to capture the attention of magazine-buying consumers.
Instead, editor Sarah Sands has concerned herself with content that the reader actually wants. Sands has clearly raided a useful list of contacts - such as Julie Burchill and Mihir Bose - accrued during her national press days, to add depth to the usual material. The addition of more light-hearted elements is welcome and the overall editorial proposition is cheerful.
The new look may be misleading - but the new outlook is more appropriate for the title. Maybe its rivals could learn from what seems to be a thoughtful approach.
Schott's Almanac spread.
What could be better?
Food: good but limited.
Would I book my clients into this?
The right ones, yes.
Chris Fuller, Press manager, Starcom