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Expanding the Niche

Tue, 03/01/2005 - 1:00am
Last updated
6 months ago
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Four-plus years ago, we started this magazine with a tight editorial focus on—you guessed it—playgrounds. From its inception, Today’s Playground has always aimed its collective antenna at specific trends and topics that affect an equally specific readership within the educational/recreational marketplace. 

Such a bulls-eye approach has its price, of course. Perhaps there are some important developments in other segments of the market, and the exclusive Today’s Playground editorial focus is missing it all. But the fact is, if there is something going on in the general marketplace that our targeted core readership needs to know about, those readers can count on reading it here, too.

In the niche media business, we have our own paranoia. Chief among our fears is that we may stray off the path of focused information and stumble into the mainstream, thus providing our readers with little more than what could be gleaned from a mainstream trade magazine. After all, the most important obligation of a niche magazine is to discover and deliver exactly what that core reader wants and needs. It’s a worthy pursuit in any form of media. Lucky for us in the niche world, a hat trick like this is actually possible. 

Thanks to the involvement and interest of many of our readers, we are getting a refined picture of your interests, and it grows clearer by the day. Fortunately, we’ve been able to translate that picture into an editorial calendar that will address some exciting new topics. At the same time, we feel these strides are still well within the bounds of the specialized market we serve.

For the past couple of years, we have focused heavily on play equipment features, industry regulations, playground safety and maintenance, access issues, diversity and the value of play. We will continue to do so. But there’s more, you’re telling us. Maybe much more.

Like more in-depth studies on child development and age-appropriate designs. More discussion of a playground’s adjacent field and turf amenities. And more attention to the needs of child care facilities, the role of landscape architecture and the finer points of project fundraising.

The last of these has led us into some exciting new ground as of late. Fundraising (in all its forms) is an issue of major importance, but in addition to all the ground-floor logistics of running a fundraiser, there are also opportunities far and wide in terms of fundraising ideas and products. In fact, we had originally set aside this issue to present some of the more out-of-the-box options, like renting an inflatable play system. It turns out that the research on this one topic has led us to the realization that inflatable play systems are a playground market segment unto themselves, not just for fundraisers, but for a whole myriad of purposes. Such a foray is reminiscent of our earlier coverage of aquatic play systems and modular skatepark equipment (and yes, you can expect more of those in forthcoming issues as well).

It would be more convenient in some respects if the playground industry were as neatly defined as we originally suspected. On the other hand, the diversity of ideas, programs, projects and products tells a much richer story. For a sneak peek at what’s coming down the pike, give us a call at

208-524-7000 or log onto


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