Reader's Digest is exploring the possibility of launching a vernacular edition under a new brand. Targeting a new socio-economic segment, the edition is expected to be an Indian version of the mother brand with a cover price, which will be different from its existing English edition.
Speaking to Business Line, Mr Ajay Shukla, Publishing Director, Reader's Digest, said: "We are targeting a calibrated segment for the local language edition that we are launching. It will be a new socio economic group and the contents of the magazine may not be a mirror image of our English edition."
With intentions of launching the new edition within the next 6-12 months, the company is now scouting for a new brand name for its vernacular edition along with a changed cover price.
"The philosophy of the new magazine will continue to be the same as Reader's Digest. It will continue to offer content that informs, inspires, educates and entertains readers across ages and cultures," added Mr Shukla, without specifying the particular Indian language chosen for its new offering.
Considering the lingual differences across the country, the main challenge for a new vernacular magazine is distribution. Relying heavily on its direct marketing initiatives to get sales, Reader's Digest has always been a subscription-driven magazine. Pegging its subscription growth rates at 14 per cent, the magazine is also expecting a revenue growth of close to 20 per cent this year.
With over 48 editions in 19 languages existing in almost 60 countries across the world, the Reader's Digest is 50-years-old brand in India. The magazine came under the India Today fold in 2003 after the Tatas sold the license it had got from RDA Inc, US.
Post-acquiring the Reader's Digest brand, India Today took up the challenge to market the brand to a new segment and drive its circulation among the 25-35 age group, without alienating its existing 35-plus segment of readers. "Today, we have subscription through new channels such as SMS, Web sites and even telemarketing," states Mr Shukla.
Besides, the brand has associated itself with corporate brands such as ICICI Bank, Café Coffee Day and even sponsored programmes such as Word Power Challenge (a vocabulary championship) to gain visibility with its target audience.
At the recently concluded `Emvies' awards hosted by the Advertising Club Bombay, Reader's Digest bagged the Gold as the "Best Media Marketer of the Year". "As a result of its innovative subscription marketing programs, the Reader Digest's audited paid circulation surged 20 per cent to nearly 6,00,000 copies. The top 10 English magazines in comparison witnessed only 9 per cent circulation growth. Reader's Digest is now the largest selling English magazine in India and has introduced a number of `industry first' innovations, added Mr Shukla.