The Bonnier Corporation continues to be the place where motorcycle publications go to die, as we get confirmation now that the Hot Bike magazine has already delivered its last magazine issue to newsstands.
Shut down effective immediately, Hot Bike joins a list of growing titles at Bonnier that have been closed (Dirt Rider & Sport Rider), or have been substantially revamped in format (Cycle World & Motorcyclist), as the media landscape changes in both format and funding.
At this point, Bonnier seems content to serve the v-twin market content that Hot Bike provided into its more general interest publications, namely Cycle World and Motorcyclist.
As the v-twin market continues to dwindle from the loss of baby boomer riders, that might not be the worst idea that the Bonnier Corporation has come up with, but it is worrying to see the turmoil that is occurring within the company’s ranks.
Presently, rumors continue to swirl that the other shoe will drop, and we will see either Motorcyclist or Cycle World dropped from the roster as well, but for now both titles continue on their reduced yearly format strategies.
Bonnier’s marketing arm for the motorcycle industry has also taken a step back, with its QuickShift Marketing division no longer operating.
This has been seen by many in the industry as a positive, as the organization completely blurred the lines between editorial and content at the Bonnier publications, and that negative perception only added further weight to the mistrust brewing for the print publication brands.
It is interesting to note that in its statement, Bonnier mentions that the ad-buying changes from one OEM and one aftermarket brand (likely Harley-Davidson and Vance & Hines) is responsible for the magazine’s collapse.
We would argue though that if two advertisers were all that propped up Hot Bike, then the magazine lived on shaky ground and it died from other more serious causes.
In the recent years, it has become hard to name a motorcycle publication that hasn’t undergone either a significant format shift, changed ownership, or been shutdown completely, which gives a strong insight into the state of the industry.
We predict that the media consolidation hasn’t concluded yet, especially as 2019 is expected to be a bumpy road for the US motorcycle industry. May you live in interesting times.