Supplementing Income p. 16

By: M.L. Stein High school sports supplement aims to reach
new teen readers, garner untapped ad revenue
WILL SUBSCRIBERS PAY extra for a supplement devoted solely to high school sports?
Absolutely, said Ronald Redfern, senior vice president/sales and marketing at the Orange County Register, which has just launched Varsity, a special newspaper weekly supplement dealing exclusively with high school athletics.
Redfern said the tabloid, which debuted Sept. 14-20, has drawn an "overwhelming response" from advertisers and subscribers, who are charged $1 a month extra for it.
The first issue had 44 pages and was loaded with ads from fast-food restaurants, a bike shop, auto dealers, a computer store, a chain of stores dealing in video and music items, and other retailers.
"We've set up a win-win situation that reflects meeting the particular cost and performance requirements of the advertiser in the '90s," Redfern said.
Varsity is aimed primarily at the hard-to-crack teen audience.
It plans to cover high schools and every high school sport in sprawling Orange County, south of Los Angeles.
The supplement will provide stats, standings, color action photos, team-by-team comparisons and player-coach profiles for both boys' and girls' varsity sports, the paper promised.
Register editor Tonnie Katz said Varsity "dramatically increases our coverage of high school sports.
"It is our first customized product, our first attempt at address-specific delivery and our first outreach to the youth market. We are convinced it will be a winner, increasing circulation, revenue and readership."
Sports editor Mark Tomaszewski said Varsity enables the Register to expand high school sports coverage without reducing coverage of other sports.
To promote the tabloid, the first issue was given free to all regular subscribers and newsstands as well as to a theater chain and 20 different high schools.
Jill Cieslak, a Register spokeswoman, said that before publication, the newspaper gathered an advertiser focus group, which produced a number of commitments from Disneyland, Jack in the Box, the Los Angeles Rams and major department stores.


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