Rising to the Challenge of the Active Teen Market
You might be tempted to call it a home-court advantage. Rise, a sports and active lifestyle magazine for and about high school athletes, has succeeded in engaging that elusive, yet lucrative teen audience by offering localized content and distributing the publication where teens spend the bulk of their time––in schools.
Published eight times a year, each issue of Rise publishes as a national edition, as well as 25 “local” editions that cater to the top 25 designated market areas (DMAs) in the country. Each local edition devotes 50 percent of its content to coverage of that geographic area. Not an easy––or inexpensive––task, but one that Publisher David Weiss believes is well worth it. “There have been enough magazines in the market trying to engage teenagers on a national perspective that have failed,” he says, citing Teen People and others. “Teenagers, especially ones who are playing sports, only have so much time in a day. … So they’re very particular about what magazines they read and … they want to read about local information that’s relevant to their daily lifestyles.”
Weiss may be on to something. In the 10 years since its launch, Rise (then known as SchoolSports Magazine) has grown from a Boston-only publication with a 40,000 circulation to a national publication with a circulation of 910,000. The company also publishes several special issues each year, including football and basketball preview issues; hosts an interactive Web site (RiseMag.com); and hosts high school sporting events around the country, such as the annual Elite 24 Hoops Classic, which brings together the top 24 high school basketball players in the country for one intense game at New York City’s legendary Rucker Park. The company’s latest endeavor was September’s launch of a new special issue of Rise called Girl, the first-ever magazine for female high school athletes.