Bonnier launches Science Illustrated in US

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Bonnier Corp.'s Science Illustrated will hit newsstands on December 12.

The magazine, geared towards families and armchair scientists, is Bonnier Corp.'s first launch in the US market since the European company established its American arm this past Spring.

“You can see that everything science-related, from the eco movement to Al Gore's movie An Inconvenient Truth, has been pretty popular,” said Bob Cohn, consumer marketing director for Bonnier Corp. “Newsstand sales of Popular Science have gone up over the past three years, response to direct mail promotions is up, and Web traffic is up pretty dramatically. Those are signs that the science market is doing well and that more people are curious about science.”

Bruce Brandfon, VP and publisher of Scientific American, agrees. His company launched a new title, Scientific American Body, on December 4.

“We believe, and Bonnier must too, that science is more important for all of us, no matter what our socioeconomic or business level is,” said Brandfon “Science is so much a part of every person's everyday life that I think we and Bonnier would expect that there ought to be increased interest in the media about science.”

Bonnier headed up two large direct mail campaigns to build a subscriber base for Science Illustrated. The first, in April, relied heavily on Popular Science and related lists. It exceeded return expectations by 25-30% and was followed by another successful direct mail push in September. The company also invested in online advertisements.

The goal, said Cohn, is to get the magazine in front of at least 100,000 readers for the first 3 issues.

Advertisers have shown faith in the launch. Chevrolet bought the back cover of the first three issues. A four-color, full-page ad in Science Illustrated is $10,000.

The pre-holiday launch was designed to get Science Illustrated into airports and bookstores in time for the Christmas shopping season. Bonnier also partnered with a company called Science Kit, which markets classroom equipment. A 16-page sample issue will be poly-bagged with Science Kit catalogs going out to 75,000 schools around country.

Science Illustrated is currently published in eight European countries. Content in the US edition, which is only published six times a year, is picked from European editions, published 17 times a year. Members of the Popular Science editorial and art staffs are involved in US production.

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