Reiman Media Group
Reiman Publications and its stepparent had a relatively rocky relationship following the Reader’s Digest Association (RDA) acquisition in March 2002. Key people left, profits went down. And then Barbara Newton became president. Today, Reiman Media Group is on a roll.
Fundamental change always causes some turmoil. It certainly did when RDA bought Reiman in 2002. Both companies had very strong but very different cultures, and it took some time to acclimate the two.
A long-time consultant to Reiman Media Group, Newton became president in 2003. Things had started to stabilize, but she set and communicated clear goals. As the company saw success, she communicated that, too. “Understanding what we were trying to do went a long way toward settling people down,” she says.
It took time to figure out areas where sharing was a benefit and those where it made sense to continue the unique strengths of the different brands. Reader-generated content is part of Reiman’s DNA, which also makes Reiman a perfect company for the Web. Its Taste of Home site, for example, features a database of 30,000 reader-generated recipes and draws 800,000 unique visitors and 14 million impressions per month.
The company actually comprises clusters of special-interest affinities: Cooking, gardening, nostalgia, country living, and more. Within those affinities are magazines, books, catalogs, e-commerce, merchandise, and affiliated products. Only 40 percent of revenue currently derives from magazines.
Under RDA, newsstand sales have grown to 9 million units a year for the four full-size and 17 digest-size Taste of Home-branded magazines. Checkout pockets were a benefit of the RDA affiliation. Retail, in fact, has become a new profit center for Reiman, which now sells special issues and bookazines through supermarket chains and national retailers. “Retail is a big breakthrough for us,” says Newton, “and we’ve seen incredible growth over the last three years.”
Other recent successes include a new quarterly magazine, called Cooking for Two, which launched at 250,000 copies and is now 900,000. It’s the second-biggest source of new names in the company database.
“We’re happy to be part of the Reader’s Digest family,” says Newton, “but Reiman remains a very distinct company.”
Reiman Media Group publishes 13 magazines with a total circulation of more than 13 million. About half of the magazines are branded Taste of Home.