READER'S DIGEST FOLDS BABY BOOMER TITLE

'New Choices' to Publish Final May-June Issue

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Reader's Digest Association today announced the closing of New Choices, its lifestyle title aimed at the 50-plus market.

Reader's Digest executives broke the news to the title's staff Tuesday evening. The move affects 14 staffers. The last issue will be May-June.

Dom Rossi, Reader's Digest executive publisher for U.S. magazines, said the title fell victim to downward trends in circulation and the overall ad market, as well as increased postal rates.

First on the hit list
"Quite frankly, when you look at the list of publications targeting the senior marketplace, it was probably first on the hit list," he said, meaning it was most likely to be omitted from media plans.

The title faced further challenges early last year when Modern Maturity spun off My Generation, a title aimed at baby boomers in their 50s, with 3.1 million of the AARP organ's circulation.

New Choices had undergone many title and positioning changes after Reader's Digest purchased it from Whitney Communications in 1988. Last year the title's publishing frequency was cut from 10 months a year to six.

For the last half of 2001, New Choices' circulation was 606,496, up 0.7%. For all of 2001, its ad pages declined 24.9% to 354.4 last year.

Reader's Digest, which relies heavily on direct-mail to maintain circulation at its 12.5-million circulation flagship, was hit especially hard by anthrax scares last fall, with response rates for its mailings declining 50% in the immediate wake of Sept. 11 -- an unheard of decline, said John Klingel, the company's vice president for global circulation at U.S. magazines.

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