Reader’s Digest partners with Sympatico.ca
The publishing co's BestHealthmag.ca is now the portal's new health and fitness section.
It hasn’t been an easy year for magazines, or print in general, but a new approach to branding and partnerships has seen Reader’s Digest Canada resist the downward trend this year – the latest of which was announced this morning, that its newest publication Best Health, is now the health and wellness section of Sympatico.ca. The news comes on the coattails of Reader’s Digest Canada’s announcement earlier this week, that its overall properties – print and web – have seen a 1% increase in ad revenue.
The new section, which has already received over 1.5 million views in its first three weeks of integration, will have its ads and integrated programs sold both through Reader’s Digest’s ad sales team (which include cross-platform opps through the mag’s print component) as well as through Sympatico’s sales team, which is helming ithe section’s online-only ads.
‘The base of this deal is to transform a channel that was purely online for Sympatico and a (print) magazine that has an online component but that was smaller, into a multi-platform brand that can be sold by both teams,’ Yann Paquet, director of digital media for Readers Digest Canada, tells MiC. ‘We sell a lot of integrated programs with the magazine that are driving people to the website to have an extended experience and more interactivity.’
For its part, Readers Digest has also seen repeat performance in the number-three position on Masthead‘s Top 50 list of magazines by revenue in 2008, reporting ad revenue of $20,097,943. Best Health also managed to make Masthead’s Top Ten Almost Made Its, in its first year of business, posting an annual ad revenue of $1,911,140.
ABC circ numbers, report a 3.6% decline in paid subscriptions for Readers Digest and an 18.1% decline in single copy sales. Relative numbers were not available for Best Health, which hasn’t been around long enough for annual comparison, but reported 93,210 paid subscriptions in the first half of 2009 and over 16,000 single copy sales.
Reader’s Digest Canada VP of publishing Larry Thomas tells MiC that a broader approach to publishing over the past two years has been at the core of the company’s success, one that includes carefully cultivated media platforms, a push to digital and overall market share growth. The latter, says Thomas, was a product of the shifting magazine landscape, but the other two main factors can be attributed to the new reach the publisher has, thanks to the launch of Best Health magazine and its website, Besthealthmag.ca, along with the continued success of Our Canada magazine and website, which has maintained a steady paid circ of between 280,000 and 285,000.
‘Best Health has been a beautiful thing for us in the marketplace,’ Thomas tells MiC. ‘It’s really the product that’s right for the market. It’s right for the consumers…and right for advertisers.’ The health and wellness magazine has seen continuous advertising growth since it launched, he says, and has found a lucrative niche with its female, 35-to-55 demographic. In addition, Readersdigest.ca has seen ‘significant growth’ in the past year, says Thomas, tripling revenue and maintaining about 500,000 unique monthly visitors.
The revenue increase in Canada stands in contrast to operations in the US, where Reader’s Digest Association filed for bankruptcy last month. Canadian operations are not affected by the move.
Reader’s Digest has launched initiatives to work with advertisers in new ways, including database and content initiatives, allowing distribution of materials through their reader database (including email). Examples include direct mail, samples, printed material, and custom publications, such as The Magazine Rona/Le Magazine Rona, which Reader’s Digest published for the building materials retailer for the first time this fall.