«A preliminary proposal for a teen magazine by Iowa State University’s Center for Transportation Research and Education 2901 S. Loop Drive, Suite ...»
exploring the world of transportation
A preliminary proposal for a teen magazine
by Iowa State University’s
Center for Transportation Research and Education
2901 S. Loop Drive, Suite 3100
Ames, IA 50010
Why a transportation magazine for teens
Other magazines for teens—the competition
Other magazines’ coverage of transportation
Financing the magazine
Potential ancillary products
Management and staffing
Design and production
Appendix A: Details and assumptions of costs
Appendix B: Career fields
Appendix C: Additional article ideas
Each issue will focus on a single theme such as transport security (see a sample list on page 10). Lively articles and color photos and illustrations will convey the energy and problem-solving attitude inherent in the transportation industry (see a list of sample content for the first year’s issues on page 11).
Editorial content will be managed by the publications staff at Iowa State University’s Center for Transportation Research and Education (see page 8). A circulation consultant and subscription fulfillment vendor will handle subscriptions and distribution.
Subscriptions will be the primary source of revenue. Other sources will also be pursued (see ancillary products on page 8). A five-year budget outlines the anticipated costs of the magazine (see page 7).
iii Proposal for Go! A Teen Magazine Overview Go! is a bimonthly, advertising-free magazine for teens that opens their eyes to the exciting innovations in transportation as well as the human problems that transportation helps solve. It will appeal to young men and women, 12 to 17, who are curious about the world and are interested in math, science, technology, politics, economics, geography, and/or the environment. Go! will show teens how to help people and make a difference in the world through the lens of transportation.
Editorial mission Go! will show teens (and their parents, teachers, and guidance counselors) that transportation is an exciting, dynamic, cool field to read about. By engaging all readers with fascinating content and helping them better understand the role of this important industry in their own lives, Go! will also help fill the “pipeline” of future transportation workers.
The magazine covers transportation from all angles, from the practical to the political, from the infrastructure to the vehicles to the people behind the wheel—whether that “wheel” is on a car, train, plane, or ship. Making the transportation industry visible to teens is one of the main goals of Go!. Go! will focus on the positives of the industry while recognizing the problems and people’s search for solutions.
A free, separate teacher’s guide will help educators incorporate transportation topics into the junior and senior high curriculum. Home schoolers may also find it useful.
Situation analysis Why a transportation magazine for teens In 2006 the leading edge of the baby boom turns 60. Retirement is just around the corner.
While dire predictions about the loss of institutional knowledge and skills may or may not come true as boomers retire, what is true is that even if the number of positions remains the same, there just aren’t enough people to fill them.
According to the 2000 census, people aged 35 to 54 totaled about 82.8 million; this figure includes the baby boomers, people born between 1946 and 1964, who were 36–54 in
2000. People aged 15 to 34 totaled about 78.9 million. That’s four million fewer people.
Couple the lack of people with the invisibility of the transportation industry—especially to teens considering their career possibilities—and recruiting qualified job applicants becomes even tougher.
By arriving six times a year in teens’ mailboxes, Go! makes transportation visible and interesting on a regular basis. In addition to a print magazine that teens can take anywhere and pass along when they’re through, subscribers will also have exclusive access to an online version.
But do teens actually read print magazines? You bet. According to research by Mediamark Research Inc. (MRI) for the Magazine Publishers of America, eight out of 10 teens read magazines. And teens are much less likely to multitask with other media when reading magazines than when watching TV or using the Internet. For example, 55 percent of teens simultaneously use the Internet and watch TV compared to 12 percent who simultaneously read magazines and watch TV.
Other magazines for teens—the competition There are many excellent magazines for children and teens these days, but none is in direct competition with Go!. Table 1 highlights the closest competition, magazines that deal with science and targeted to part of Go!’s target audience.
Table 1. Competition at a glance
ChemMatters is designed to complement the curriculum of first-year high school chemistry.
Published by the American Chemical Society since 1983, the magazine focuses on chemistry as an everyday subject. Article topics include biography, health, history,
Dig, established in 1999 and published by Carus Publishing, the preeminent children’s magazine publisher in the United States, is produced in conjunction with the Archeological Institute of America. Like many of Carus Publishing’s magazines, Dig is theme-based with each issue focusing on a different theme. All features and activities are devoted to the theme although departments cover broader archeological topics. A recent issue’s theme was Jamestown and included articles on artifacts found in a well, kids’ activities at the settlement, and the so-called lazy settlers.
Muse, another member of the Carus Publishing family, has a broader scope than Dig and may be harder to incorporate into the curriculum. Established in 1996, Muse has a sense of humor and may be more frequently read for simple entertainment. Articles often have a light or irreverent tone. A recent article about the Tower of London included several mini stories about how people escaped from or died in the tower. In the same issue (the theme was “reader beware”) were articles about a supposed four-armed corpse found in an Egyptian tomb and a drug called sulfanilamide that killed people in 1937 who were taking it for infections.
Odyssey, also published by Carus, was established in 1979 with a focus on space-related science and technology. Several years ago the magazine broadened its editorial concept to include other scientific fields although it maintains a department devoted to astronomy.
Like other Carus publications, Odyssey uses a theme-based approach to its content.
Upcoming themes include “Shhhhh!: The Science of Noise,” “Breathless!: Cleaning Up Our Air,” and “`Smart’ Clothes: Wearing Science.” Science World, established in 1959, is published by Scholastic, the largest children’s publisher in the country. Science World is a classroom magazine geared toward the grades 6–10 science curriculum. According to Scholastic’s website, “Science World helps teachers meet local, state, and National Science Education standards.” Its significantly higher circulation (400,000) compared to the other magazines above suggests how successful Scholastic is at getting its products adopted by schools. Science World has lower quality paper than the Carus magazines. It also accepts some advertising which is run on the inside covers and the back cover. It was named “Young Adult Periodical of the Year” in 2005 by the Association of Educational Publishers.
Each of the magazines above (except, possibly, Muse) also publishes a teacher’s guide for each issue. Excluding Science World, none of the magazines runs advertising except for its own product line. Revenues are, presumably, primarily from subscriptions and ancillary product sales. ChemMatters and Dig are both affiliated with professional organizations that likely contribute to their respective magazines’ support.
Other magazines’ coverage of transportation According to the Children’s Magazine Guide, an index of 68 magazines, only one of the magazines above, Odyssey, published a transportation-related article between September 2003 and August 2004. In that time, several other children’s magazines published a total of nine articles on bridges (the most common transportation-related topic), trains, traffic safety, and the history of transportation in Canada.
3 Proposal for Go! A Teen Magazine Does this lack of coverage suggest that children and teens aren’t interested in transportation? It’s possible. But a more likely explanation is that magazine people don’t “see” the topic well enough themselves. If magazines devoted to relatively narrow topics like chemistry and archeology can survive and even thrive, a magazine on transportation, with its breadth of disciplines and wealth of exciting and innovative topics, is bound to find its niche.
Circulation Subscriptions will be the primary source of revenue. The best science magazines, such as those described in the competition section above, do not rely on external advertising. We believe it’s in the best interests of our readers to follow this trend with Go!.
Target readers Go! will appeal to teens 12 to 17 who are interested in the world and how it works. The core target group will be high school students (since they’re more likely to be thinking about life after high school than the 12–14 year olds). According to the US Census Bureau, there were 40.7 million kids between the ages of 10 and 19 in 2000. In other words, the potential universe of Go! readers is about 24 million 12- to 17-year-olds. And this doesn’t include the potential international readership.
Actual subscribers will more likely be adults such as math and science teachers, librarians, guidance counselors, parents, and people working in and already promoting the transportation industry. Marketing to teens directly is also possible.
Pricing strategy Go! will offer an introductory one-year subscription (six issues) for $19.95. Renewals in year two will be at the price of $24.95 per year, and all renewals after that will be at the full price of $26.95. The cover price will be $4.50. Three or more copies to the same address will sell for $16.25 each. As you can see from Table 2 below, the proposed pricing strategy for Go! is competitive.
The prices in Table 2 do not reflect any discounts. Carus Publishing routinely offers discounts of $5 (about 15 percent of the one-year subscription price) in ads that appear in its own magazines (i.e., house ads).
Table 2. Competitors’ pricing
Direct mail Locate and rent high quality mail lists and develop spot-on direct mail materials. Direct mail can be an expensive marketing strategy, so it must be well targeted. Hiring a circulation consultant will be an important step. Lists could include math and science teachers’ associations and children’s science magazine subscribers, e.g., Odyssey subscribers.
Advertising Advertise in a serials catalog used by librarians to order subscriptions. Serials catalogs are produced by vendors like EBSCO. Through these vendors, libraries manage their magazine subscriptions so they can renew all of them at once. EBSCO also offers (for an additional fee) promotional opportunities at their booth during various national and international library conventions.
Single-copy distribution Give away free copies loaded with subscription order cards at events such as math and science teacher conferences, transportation/construction career fairs for high school students, and transportation association conferences and events.
Single-copy sales Sell single copies through science and/or transportation museum gift stores.
Gift promotion Encourage transportation professionals such as members of AASHTO, TRB, and other organizations and associations to order gift subscriptions for their own teens, nieces, nephews, or grandchildren, the local library, or the local school (perhaps a bulk subscription).
Tie-ins Sell bulk subscriptions to transportation companies, organizations, or associations for their employees to take home to their teens.
House ads Include new subscriber and renewal order cards in each issue of Go!.
Web Develop a website with a sample issue for download, an article from the current issue, and an easy way to order or renew subscriptions. Additional content may include interactive activities, links to college programs in transportation, etc.
Distribution Distribution will be primarily through subscriptions, both bulk and single copy. CTRE will work with a subscription fulfillment vendor to handle new subscriptions and renewals and mail lists. Mail lists will either be sent directly to the printer who will prepare the magazines for mailing/shipping or to ISU Printing Services to manage the mailing/shipping, whichever is most cost effective.
Financing the magazine Start-up costs The one-time investments necessary before publishing the first regular issue will include
• Hiring a publishing/circulation consultant to develop a strategic business plan that includes detailed promotion and marketing plans.
• Working with the circulation consultant to develop a promotion campaign. This will include writing, designing, printing, and mailing the direct mail, conversion, and renewal promotion materials and renting mail lists.
• Setting up a subscription fulfillment service with a vendor.
• Preparing a trial issue.