RDA’s Selecciones to shutter in US

Selecciones, a Spanish-language magazine published by the Reader’s Digest Association (RDA), will stop publishing its US edition as of the June issue.

RDA president Eva Dillon pinned the 37-year-old magazine’s demise on its lack of long-term growth possibilities. Like many magazines, Selecciones has seen a drop in ad pages, which were down 15.2% for the full year of 2008 vs. 2007 and 11.4% between the first quarter of 2009 and Q1 2008, according to the Publisher’s Information Bureau. Its total paid and verified circulation also dropped between 2007 and 2008, thanks to a dip in single copy sales, but subscriptions were actually up — from 341,299 in 2007 to 343,840 in 2008.

Selecciones was meeting its 375,000 rate base, and average reader age was around 40, according to MRI. Median household income, however, was just $39,980 — not the sort of high income demographic segment that most amgazines covet.

“Selecciones is a big brand for us globally, and we actually have magazines in 16 Latin American markets plus Spain, and in many instances it’s a major magazine in a given country, like Reader’s Digest is here,” said William Adler, VP of global communications for RDA. “Unfortunately, the U.S. edition did not give indications of a viable business going forward. It was a small operation here in the US — just four dedicated positions. The Editor-in-Chief, Genevieve Fernandez, is based in Mexico City and oversees other editions, so she continues as always and her job is not affected.

The magazine’s four full-time positions have been terminated. Selecciones.com, an international Web site that serves all editions, will continue to operate. After June, however, it will not carry US-specific content. RDA will keep publishing the 17 international editions of Selecciones.

“Making tough calls like this (identifying when a title needs to close) is as important to a successful publishing company as making the call to go forward with a new launch,” Adler continued. “In the end, the goal is to have a vibrant, healthy and growing publishing company. Our global magazine total is growing: we have 94 magazines — 50 editions of Reader’s Digest and 44 other titles — so we continue to add titles on a net basis.”

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