RDA Freshens ‘Home,’ Despite Downturn

Shelter magazines are still reeling from the economic downturn, yet Reader’s Digest Association is pursuing an aggressive growth strategy for Fresh Home, its year-old title for young do-it-yourselfers.

Lora Gier, the title’s vp and publisher, said RDA was encouraged by reader and advertiser response. The magazine has been averaging 30 ad pages per issue, including business from Walmart and Red Baron pizza. “There was nothing else like it out there,” Gier said. “This is kind of a design-it-yourself [magazine]. There are more women who are owning homes, and they’re looking at the home as a way to be creative.” Fresh Home’s rate base will go to 600,000 in 2011, up from 200,000 at launch, and the annual frequency will go to six times a year from four in 2012.

Fresh Home, which started out borrowing heavily from other RDA home titles, has been adding more original content under editor in chief Christian Millman. In 2011, it will launch a new community-based companion Web site.

Still, Fresh Home could be at a disadvantage as a lower-frequency title. “I’d be lying if I said it didn’t hamper us in some way,” Gier said. “But it’s about growing in a way that’s smart so we don’t overpromise and underdeliver.”