The rumors of the Bonnier Motorcycle Group (BMG) being for sale have been ongoing for a while now, but now they have finally come good, as Octane has been named as the buyer of BMG.
For those not familiar with Octane, it is a part of Fintech, and it operates as a portal for financing loans to powersports buyers. Why does a lending house want to buy Cycle World, Motorcyclist, Dirt Rider, Motorcycle Cruiser, UTV Driver, ATV Rider, and Cycle Volta?
Octane CEO Jason Guss perhaps says it best in the company’s joint press release with Bonnier Corp.:
“We are acquiring these titles because we want to support brands that get people excited about powersports. Our goal for this acquisition is to ensure that unbiased product reviews, rigorous and objective testing, and informed storytelling will continue to be available to powersports enthusiasts.”
“When combined with Octane’s financing platform and dealership partners, consumers will soon be able to go directly from researching their dream vehicle to owning it, in a fast, seamless process.”
For those paying attention, Guss just said in the same breath that titles like Cycle World will be used going forward to generate sales leads for the company’s lending and dealership partners, while of course maintaining their impartial and journalistic nature. Mmmmmrrright.
Much can be said about the current editorial impartiality of Bonnier’s current magazine selections, or apparent lack thereof, but Octane’s own statement does little to reassure that the needle will move in a positive direction on that metric. Octane also confirms that Mark Hoyer will remain in charge of the publication titles.
The bad news continues as it has become clear that Octane’s play is purely on the digital front, which means that Cycle World will cease to be a print publication as it enters the Octane family. As such, the final print edition of Cycle World will be the October 2020 issue, and all subscribers going forward will get a digital issue beginning in 2021.
The largest media house in the motorcycle industry, the Bonnier Motorcycle Group is comprised of some historic names when it comes to motorcycle journalism. Slowly though, we have seen each stalwart title fall from grace, and today’s news seems to be the final rumble of that slow, but earth-shaking slide in the abyss.
The concept of media as a lead for sales is nothing new in the motorcycle industry, as exemplified by titles like Common Tread, which services leads for RevZilla, as well as Canada’s FortNine, which runs its own media platform under the same name.
This arrangement does allow for a certain amount of independence for these publications (using that term loosely), since those titles are not dependent on ad sales revenue for their survival, and thus are not beholden to a list of advertisers.
However, these titles do exist with the sole purpose of driving sales to another business unit in the same company, which can generate its own unique conflicts of interest, and still create situations of financial motivations before editorial independence.
With Cycle World, Motorcyclist, Dirt Rider, and the others now set to work under the same business model, it will be interesting to see how those publications change both in operation, and in content.
Source: Bonnier Corp.