Reader's Digest Association Takes Steps To Accelerate Master Brand Strategy

- Announces new editorial structure

- Consistent with strategy, plans to sell Every Day with Rachael Ray

Oct 12, 2011, 11:00 ET from The Reader's Digest Association, Inc.

NEW YORK, Oct. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Reader's Digest Association, Inc., today announced a series of steps to accelerate the transformation of the company under a strategy of focusing resources on its owned and operated master brands, including Reader's Digest, Taste of Home and The Family Handyman.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20111012/NY85079-a)

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20111012/NY85079-b)

"We are focusing our time and resources on our owned and operated brands that have the greatest potential to expand content across multiple platforms and around the world," said Robert E. Guth, President and Chief Executive Officer.  "Today's announcements demonstrate the sense of purpose we have in moving this strategy forward."

New Editorial Structure at Reader's Digest North America

Consistent with the strategy, Dan Lagani, President, North America, announced the creation of the new position of Chief Content Officer and Editor-in-Chief for the Reader's Digest Community.  This new position will ensure there is a unified creative voice for the Reader's Digest brand across all platforms, and will drive editorial direction and strategy across Reader's Digest branded magazines, books and digital products in the U.S.  

Liz Vaccariello, Editor-in-Chief of Every Day with Rachael Ray, has been appointed to this new position, effective November 1. Vaccariello is a five-time New York Times bestselling author, most notably the co-author of Flat Belly Diet! and was former Editor-in-Chief of the Prevention brand. She has a well-known track record creating – and being the face of -- authoritative content across multiple media platforms, and has deep expertise in health, food and family, important content focuses for the Reader's Digest brand. She will report to Lagani.

"Creating a consistent brand experience for consumers, and keeping that in laser focus, is the hallmark of any great brand," said Lagani.  "In the past year, we have seen the vitality of the Reader's Digest brand illustrated through increases in ad pages, in the growth of our presence on Facebook, and in becoming the most popular magazine on the Kindle.  We're excited to have Liz Vaccariello now leading the effort to expand the content reach of the Reader's Digest brand with a unified voice across all media platforms and licensing and partnerships, such as our relationship with Humana."

As announced today, Peggy Northrop will be stepping down as Global Editor-in-Chief of Reader's Digest magazine.  She will work with the company in an advisory role as International Editor-at-Large with a focus on the international magazine business.

In addition, Neil Wertheimer will assume the role of International Chief Content Officer and Editor-in-Chief of Reader's Digest Books and Home Entertainment with content and editorial responsibility for all International Reader's Digest branded books and home entertainment products.  Neil has a 30-year track record of publishing success and successfully rebuilt RDA's U.S. direct-response book program since joining in 2002.  He will report to Dawn Zier, President, Reader's Digest International.

Plans to Sell Every Day with Rachael Ray

The company also announced today, consistent with its master brand strategy, that it plans to sell the magazine Every Day with Rachael Ray.  It is working with Ray's representatives at WATCH to find a buyer that is a better strategic fit for the magazine.

"Because our agreement limited our participation to producing just a magazine, we were unable to expand the brand and its content across multiple platforms.  Going forward, it was not a fit with our master brand strategy," said Guth.  "The team at Every Day with Rachael Ray has set high standards for editorial integrity and excellence that have long defined the magazine. We have enjoyed our partnership with Rachael and her organization."

About The Reader's Digest Association, Inc.

RDA is a global media and direct marketing company that educates, entertains and connects more than 140 million consumers around the world with products and services from trusted brands. With offices in 44 countries, the company reaches customers in 79 countries, publishes 90 magazines, including 50 editions of Reader's Digest, the world's largest-circulation magazine, operates 83 branded websites and sells nearly 40 million books, music and video products across the world each year. Further information about the company can be found at www.rda.com.

RDA contacts:
Media: Gary Davis, 646-293-6206
Investors:  Bryan Berndt, 646-293-6054

SOURCE The Reader's Digest Association, Inc.



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