RDA Folds Pastor Rick Warren’s Print Vehicle

Reader’s Digest Association is folding the print version of Purpose Driven Connection, the quarterly Christian-themed magazine it produces with pastor Rick Warren, after paid subscriptions failed to take off.
Launched in January, Purpose Driven Connection sought to tap into Warren’s popularity as a minister and author of The Purpose Driven Life. It represented one of RDA’s big ventures as it sought to grow revenue outside its flagship, the pocket-sized Reader’s Digest.
The magazine was part of a multiplatform effort that included interactive DVDs, study group guides and access to the Web site. A one-year subscription costs $29.99, according to the site.
The program generated strong online audience growth, with some 400,000 people visiting the Web site daily, according to Warren’s Saddleback Church, which announced the format change. The magazine also sold well at retail, but paid memberships never took off, an RDA rep said. No subscription sales figures were immediately available.

“For Saddleback’s part, they found that their community loved the content but paying for it was an issue, hence online being their chosen delivery point,” the rep said.
The last print issue will come out in mid-November. After that, the magazine will be converted to a digital format at Purposedriven.com, and RDA will hand over the Web site to Saddleback Church after March 31, 2010.
The RDA rep said no RDA staffers would lose their job as a result of the change, as the magazine was put out by Saddleback employees and freelance contributors.