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A prolonged decline in folding camping trailer sales has prompted Pop UP Times Publisher Dave Newhouse to redirect his magazine venture by changing the name of his magazine to RV Enthusiast and also catering to owners of conventional towable RVs as well as motorized units retailing for less than $100,000.
“When I first started selling Pop UP Times in 1998, the industry was selling about 63,000 units a year,” said Newhouse, who published the magazine’s final bimonthly issue in February. “In 2005, the industry sold around 30,000 units. So my market potential was cut in half.”
By broadening his editorial scope to include all entry-level RVs, Newhouse believes he’ll have a much better chance of making a long-term success of his magazine. Advertisers, he said, have already responded favorably to his plans for RV Enthusiast, which is slated to debut in March with a circulation of about 20,000. Newhouse hopes to grow to 25,000 or 26,000 by the end of 2006.
“It’s just so much easier to get the advertisers’ attention now,” Newhouse told RV Business. “I feel like I should have done this a long time ago.”
Folding camping trailer sales were at relatively high levels when Newhouse started Pop UP Times in 1998. But sales of these units gradually declined as Detroit started producing larger vehicles and as the availability of more hybrid and affordable hardwall trailers grew.
“The new SUVs or minivans are capable of pulling heavier trailers, so a lot of people have just bypassed the popup and gone to a lightweight travel trailer,” said Newhouse.
Another problem, Newhouse maintains, is that dealers don’t like to sell popups because commissions tend to be higher on lightweight travel trailers than they are for comparably priced folding camping trailers.
Nevertheless, RV Enthusiast will continue covering the folding camper trailer segment as thoroughly as possible. In addition, Newhouse said former RV News Editor Bob Zagami has joined RV Enthusiast as editor and co-owner with third partner Charlie Gilbert.
Editorial content will be generated in part by freelancers, while the magazine itself will be produced by an outside printer.