Reader's Digest, which has recently released its 50th anniversary edition, expects to deliver over 40 per cent revenue growth this year. Ajay Shukla, Publishing Director, Reader's Digest, said, "This year has been our strongest year till date. We expect to deliver over 40 per cent revenue growth against last year. There is a growth in paid subscriptions as well as substantial improvements in the market share of advertising revenues. We hope to continue this growth in the coming years." The growing stature of this magazine is well enumerated by the fact that the list of advertisers is ever increasing and so are the ad spends. Its list of new clients, include Toyota, Gillette, Indian Rayon, Apollo Tyres, HP, Tata Indicom, Nicholas Piramal, Westside and VLCC.
"The 50th Anniversary Issue is a collectors issue with the finest articles that have appeared in the last 50 years of the magazine's edition in India. The articles were chosen by not only the Indian editors but Digest editors from around the world. The result we believe is a volume that is a treasure trove. The special issue contain double doses of our most popular departments like 'Laughter, the Best Medicine' and 'Quotable Quotes' as also our book section that had two condensed books instead of the usual one. The issue carries a special message from President of India Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, who is a regular reader for the past 50 years. In fact, the first copy of the Anniversary Issue was presented to the President at Rashtrapati Bhawan," said Shukla.
How far has Reader's Digest come from the days of its inception? Shukla said, "Reader's Digest's evolution is an extraordinary story of keeping true to its essence yet changing with the times. Its first issue was published by Dewitt and Lila Acheson Wallace in February 1922. They believed that a magazine with articles of enduring appeal condensed and focusing on essentials would be attractive to readers. This winning formula remains the essence of The Digest even till today. Recently there have been a number of very successful changes in the magazine. The most visible one was in May 1998 when the magazine appeared with a totally new look. The table of contents became more detailed and moved into the magazine. And illustrations became larger and more dramatic. The cover design became visually more attractive with lead-ins to key articles. Altogether the magazine became more interesting to the eye and easier to navigate."
He added, "A number of editorial innovations have also been introduced. In "Have your say" we publish letters from readers. In a new section called RD Living we run short interesting and useful items on subjects like Health, Home, Technology, Money, Food etc. In fact, in a just a short time RD Living has become quite a favourite with readers. And we have candid interviews with celebrities."
What is the strongest point for a magazine like the Reader's Digest? Shukla said, "Much of Digest content is timeless. 'Articles of enduring significance' is the phrase our founder DeWitt Wallace used as he searched for content. This is achieved by our magazine's focus on the power of the individual. We constantly show that man's greatest ideas and accomplishments, his often stunning faith, courage and hope, can be seen in the conduct of ordinary men and women. Being a monthly, we can't be a newsmagazine, but that also gives us an advantage. We can patiently take readers behind the headlines to the cause and meaning of world events; of developments in technology and medicine; provide smart tips on health or finance or family ties."