Reader’s Digest outsources circulation marketing to TC Media
October 23, 2013 | Chris Powell | Comments
With circulation for its flagship publication in freefall, Reader’s Digest Canada has entered into a new circulation marketing agreement with TC Media, publisher of several leading consumer titles including Canadian Living, Coup de Pouce and The Hockey News.
Parent company the Reader’s Digest Association (RDA) called the deal the latest step in a “transformational strategy” adopted earlier this year to aggressively market its product to new audiences and channel its resources more efficiently and effectively.
Philippe Cloutier, general manager of Reader’s Digest in Montreal, said the deal covers five RDA subscriber titles: Reader’s Digest; its French sister publication Sélection du Reader’s Digest; Best Health; Our Canada and More of Our Canada. “We are confident that [TC Media] will help us achieve our goal of reaching new audiences,” said Cloutier.
Under the new deal, TC Media will provide a dedicated team to drive subscriber acquisition and retention for the RDA titles, as well as offering reporting, audit and creative services. It does not include cross-promotion with TC Media properties.
All of these functions were previously handled in-house. Nine positions in RDA’s consumer marketing department will be eliminated once the deal comes into effect, said Cloutier, although he said it would continue to have an “active” consumer-marketing department.
Cloutier told Marketing that North American publishers are increasingly realizing that circulation management is no longer a “core function” that should be managed internally. He pointed to U.S. publisher Wenner Media (which operates titles including US Weekly, Rolling Stone and Men’s Journal) and Disney Publishing as examples of companies that have outsourced circulation management.
The new deal expands an existing agreement between RDA and TC Transcontinental, which prints the RDA publications. The expanded agreement includes the development and implementation of a circulation marketing strategy addressing multiple channels including print, digital and what RDA called a “rapidly growing” e-editions business.
The latest publisher’s statement from the Alliance for Audited Media (AAM) showed Reader’s Digest’s total paid and verified circulation at 458,233, a decrease of nearly 100,000 from 552,664 in the corresponding year-earlier period. Once the country’s largest circulation magazine, Reader’s Digest has now tumbled into third place.