Reader’s Digest moves to “3D editing” to draw in new readers

The Reader’s Digest is planning a raft of digital extensions to its print products to increase its readership, a year on from going into administration.

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The company’s CEO David Titmuss describes this process as “3D editing”: adding extra digital “layers” to content, such as images or movies, without the space limitations of print.

He adds: “In the digital environment you are not constrained by cost and space. 3D editing sets us apart from our competitors, it adds layers and depth, that’s where we are going.”

One of the company’s first explorations into 3D editing is a fully-interactive iPhone app for walks around Great Britain, based on its book The Most Amazing Places to Walk in Britain. The app, which will be released mid-February, cost £50,000 to develop and Titmuss says there will be more app launches in the coming months.

Three digital agencies have also been appointed to drive ecommerce and grow The Reader’s Digest’s social media presence and it is investigating digital sponsorships and acquisitions.

Titmuss says: “The world’s turned digital and the best way to understand it is to do it.”

The company is also looking into direct response TV ads, events, radio ads and the sponsorship of digital brands – as well as continuing its traditional direct mail campaigns – as it looks to step up its brand awareness.

The Reader’s Digest went into administration last February due to a £125m pension deficit. Titmuss, former head of marketing at Bank of Scotland, was appointed as CEO following a £13m buyout by venture capitalists Better Capital to turnaround the business.

Since Titmuss’ appointment, the Reader’s Digest has embarked on a £3m marketing drive, including its biggest ever sampling campaign which he says was “phenomenally successful”.

Titmuss says: “We are like the grand old house in town that everyone knows but nobody has been inside, but once you go in you find there are some amazing things in there.”

After the Royal Wedding, the magazine will be updated further, including the introduction of several soon-to-be-announced high-profile celebrity columnists, in order to expand its readership.

He says: “We know our brand has the wrong perception at the moment, but we cannot change this with one campaign; we need to do a 1,000 things and do them well consistently.”

Reader’s Digest recent timeline

  • February 2010 Reader’s Digest goes into administration, putting over 100 jobs at risk
  • April 2010 Venture capital company Better Capital pays £13m for Reader’s Digest UK
  • November 2010 David Titmuss appointed as chief executive
  • January 2011 Reader’s Digest launches Direct Marketing Partners, with BBC and ITV as its first clients
  • February 2011 Company appoints three digital agencies to boost ecommerce and social media

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