The print media landscape continues to change for the motorcycle industry, as Bonnier has just announced that Cycle World will be moving to a quarterly format, starting in 2018.
The move is similar to the changes made at sister publication Motorcyclist, where fewer print editions and a larger focus online are the name of the game.
Bonnier hopes that more “artistic” coffee table issues, will help buoy its print brands’ downward spiral, while the publishing house looks to aggregate news feeds and social media to boost its online sites.
As we reported, Sport Rider will no longer continue as a print publication, and DIRT RIDER will cease its publishing as well. Both titles will continue online it seems, however, though it is not clear how much original content they will run, and how frequently they will post stories.
Bonnier also announced that Hot Bike magazine will be combining with Baggers, to make one giant American v-twin publication, with a six-issue per year format.
As for the big news regarding Cycle World, I have long said that print publications make sense in something like a quarterly format, especially in a format that contains more evergreen content – with a focus on creating something that you put on your bookshelf once you’re done, not in the garbage can.
Of course, saying this and doing it are two very different things. In the past decade we have seen the creation of several strong niche print publications in the two-wheeled space. We have also seen some complete failures.
As for the digital realm, it seems Bonnier is also looking to increase revenues. Lately, it seems that the media house has been pushing the envelope of advertisement and editorial.
A number of stories lately have come across my news feed that have raised more than an eyebrow, and read heavily as paid-for content. Actual advertisement, advertorial, or a passionate reviewer? It’s hard to tell, but perceptions are real.
The growing talk in the industry is that the wall that is supposed to be in place between advertising and editorial no longer exists at America’s premier motorcycle publications, and that is very bad for the industry.
As always, time will tell. We’ll see how this plays out.