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Reader's Digest reduces publication frequency
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Published: 6/20/2009 12:00 AM

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NEW YORK -- Reader's Digest Association Inc. is reducing the frequency of its flagship magazine and slashing the circulation it guarantees to advertisers.

The company said Friday it will publish its U.S. magazine 10 times a year rather than 12 beginning with next February's issue.

It will also adjust its rate base from 8 million to 5.5 million over an 18-month period. A rate base is the circulation the company is guaranteeing to advertisers. Advertisers pay for their ads with the understanding that they get that amount of circulation.

Total global circulation will be 14.5 million.

In the second half of last year, the U.S. edition of Reader's Digest had circulation of 8.2 million, 2 percent above the rate base but 12 percent below circulation a year earlier. Its decision to adjust to rate base suggests expectations that circulation will drop further.

Several mass-circulation magazines, including TV Guide, also have slashed the circulation they guarantee advertisers in recent years.

Over the summer, Reader's Digest plans to roll out a global Web platform, localized by geographic market, in 21 languages.

The move comes at a difficult time for print media, with newspapers and magazines facing declining advertising revenue as well as audiences migrating online.