Whittle’s New Publication for College Women Faces Rocky Road
NEW YORK (AP) _ A new publication designed for college women, In View, is making its debut on campus this month, and its creators say they intend to avoid the pitfalls that have recently doomed several college magazines.
The 20-page publication has been dubbed a newspaper by its publisher, Whittle Communications LP, although it resembles some of the magazines often stuffed in the Sunday newspaper.
In View is to appear five times during the academic year, and is being distributed free through school officials at more than 600 campuses at sites such as sorority houses and women’s dorms and athletic facilities.
Whittle, based in Knoxville, Tenn., said it expects In View will attract about 2 million readers.
Maybelline Co., the cosmetics maker, is the sole advertiser in the first two issues, placing multiple ads. Financial arrangements were not disclosed.
″It’s tough to reach college women with conventional advertising,″ said Lewis Nolan, a spokesman for Memphis, Tenn.-based Maybelline.
″They don’t settle into the routine other poeople have of watching TV at regular times of the day or reading the morning newspaper or keeping up a subscription to a magazine,″ he said.
But will they find time to read In View?
Whittle, which has built itself into a $150 million-a-year business by developing media vehicles that appeal to narrowly-defined audiences such as mothers waiting in the doctor’s office or animal owners at the veterinarian, spent more than a year interviewing college women and says the research has given it the insight needs to succeed where others have failed.
″We found there is a need for information that college women don’t get from traditional magazines,″ said Jim Hilmer, a Whittle division manager who oversaw development of In View. ″They wanted straight talk on issues that they have trouble dealing with.″
In the inaugural issue, In View’s story, ″Am I My Sister’s Keeper,″ discusses how to decide what to do when a roommate shows signs of having a drug problem, eating disorder or severe depression. Others stories discussed how all-nighters affect your health and what opportunities await psychology majors.
Editor Mara Covell said what readers won’t get are ″how-to stories″ or tips on quick fixes for their lives or appearances. ″We are not talking down to them,″ she said.
The college market has proven a tricky one for some major publishers.
Newsweek and McGraw-Hill Co. each discontinued magazines aimed specifically at college students last year. Whittle itself dropped its flagship Campus Voice magazine last year and now publishes sponored posters under the Campus Voice name at colleges.
Earlier this year, the California-based Alan Weston Communications Inc. discontinued its three college magazines - College Woman, Moving Up and Ampersand’s Entertainment Guide. Ampersand had been published since 1977 and was being mailed directly with the other two magazines, one aimed at women and the other at men, to a total of 1.2 million students.
Larry Smuckler, president of Alan Weston, said his company gave up on those magazines because of the volatility of ad spending aimed at college students.
He said some advertisers would spend a lot of money one year reaching the college market, but abruptly change direction and try something else the next.
″How can one operate a business on the basis of those kind of decisions,″ he said.
Smuckler’s company is now creating publications under contract for companies and produces a sponsored movie trailer for theaters.
There have been some new efforts to reach the college market.
American Express Co., for instance, recently developed a lifestyle magazine that will be sent four times a year to cardholders who are college students.
Dow Jones & Co. Inc., publisher of the Wall Street Journal, sent a 44-page magazine it described as the college edition of its National Business Employment Weekly to more than 1,000 schools in February. The sole sponsor was American Honda Motor Co. Inc.
Follett College Stores Inc. gave away a million copies of its new publication, Great Opportunities, through its 280 college bookstores in January.
The 20-page publication, which is to be published each August and January, contained 19 pages of promotional offers from advertisers and a single page of tips on resumes and job interviews.
Jim Baumann, vice president of advertising at Follett in Elmhurst, Ill., said students are not very interested in getting news-oriented publications tailored for them. ″Given their choice or reading Newsweek or the campus Newsweek, they would choose the real thing,″ he said.
But he said they don’t mind being singled out for special treatment when it comes to offering bargains.