It seems every couple months we have to report on the changing landscape in the moto-journalism realm, as the motorcycle industry continues a heavy churn with its constant state of flux and never-ending evolution (or lack thereof).
So far, we have seen a massive shakeup of Bonnier’s motorcycle titles, including Cycle World going to a quarterly format and Motorcyclist publishing every-other month format, while closing titles like Sport Rider and consolidating titles like Bagger and Hot Bikes.
We have seen The MAG Group (which is going through its own bankruptcy proceedings right now) close the doors at Motorcycle-USA, and also sell Cycle News to the motorcycle industry’s top advertising network.
We have also seen RideApart sold to media conglomerate Motor1 (and recently lost its Editor-in-Chief), Vertical Scope’s Motorcycle.com just lost its #1 and #2 leaders, Canada Moto Guide (the largest online publication in that region) has switched ownership, and internet upstart Rider’s Domain (owned by Jake Wilson) just let go of a significant part of its content and editorial staff.
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.
It has been speculated in the motorcycle community for quite some time now, and the day has finally come, as the Bonnier Motorcycle Group (BMG) announced today that it is ceasing production of Sport Rider Magazine.
The news about Sport Rider comes wedged into a larger announcement, which involves BMG restructuring its motorcycle publishing and sales departments “in order to deliver more specialized content and provide better solutions for the motorcycle industry to engage with enthusiasts.”
Changes are afoot at Motorcyclist magazine, as the monthly publication is set to move to a six-issue per year format starting in Spring 2017. That transition will come from the direction of a new leader too, as Editor-in-Chief Marc Cook will be leaving Motorcyclist as well.
Cook outlined his departure, and announced the new format for Motorcyclist, in a short post to his “Cook’s Corner” column online, citing the many contributions his team of writers have made over the course of his tenure at the magazine.
As the opening paragraph to Cook’s goodbye letter coyly suggests, the media landscape in the motorcycle industry is shifting, pushing Motorcyclist magazine in a new direction, which also seems to be pushing hardcore journalists out of the medium.
One thing we won’t be taking with us into the New Year will be Dealernews, as the business-focused publication closed its doors on December 23rd.
Owner UBM Advanstar announced the closure of the publication earlier this month, saying that print, web, and social media parts of the publication would cease, and while the website remains online, no new content has been posted.
It will be a new year soon, and for some of Asphalt & Rubber‘s more international readers, New Year’s Eve may have already given way to New Year’s Day (Happy New Year, if that’s already the case).
Going through my various feeds, it seems obligatory that we make some sort of Happy New Year proclamation, summarize the stories the site has covered, and share some insight on the inner-workings of our operation here at A&R. The Dude abides, but bear with me first.
An accomplished 24 year run comes to a close this March as IronWorks Magazine, a publication dedicated to Harley Davidson fans and custom motorcycle enthusiasts alike, prints its last issue.
IronWorks Magazine was started in 1989 by Dennis Stemp and his wife Marilyn, with the intention of producing a publication that would provide information about custom motorcycles that could not be found through other media, word of mouth or at the local shop.
The announcement came as publisher Hatton-Brown, which acquired the magazine in 1995, decided that the medium shift to digital publications combined with the costs for traditional print were not advantageous enough to continue.
Interesting news for American motorcycle enthusiasts, as nearly all your printed two-wheeled information is set to come from a singular company in the coming future. Already the recent purchaser of Cycle World, Bonnier Corporation seems poised to control a significant portion of the two-wheeled industry’s printed and online press.
Inking a two-way deal with Source Interlink, Bonnier Corp. receives in the transaction Motorcyclist, Sport Rider, Dirt Rider, Motorcycle Cruiser, Hot Bike, Baggers, Super Streetbike, Street Chopper, and ATV Rider. In exchange, Source Interlink receives the TransWorld extreme and urban sports properties (except TransWorld Snowboarding), as well as Sound + Vision magazine.
Motorsport Aftermarket Group (MAG) is probably not a name that many of our readers are familiar with, but it is the company behind brands like Performance Machine wheels, Roland Sands Design, Renthal handlebars, Vance & Hines exhausts, along with a list of other lesser-known aftermarket brands. Straying from its namesake, MAG made some waves recently when it acquired the Motorcycle Superstore online retail outlet.
Another story of interest involves a division of Motorsport Aftermarket Group: the MAG Media Group (MMG), which bought Cycle News back in 2010 and acquired Motorcycle USA with the Motorcycle Superstore purchase. Owning one of the oldest print publications in the business, as well as the largest web-based publication in the industry, MAG has realigned its MMG operations to consolidate the management of the two publications, with longtime editor Paul Carruthers taking on the role of Editorial Director in the business reshuffling.
When the news that Dorna would be taking over World Superbikes broke, there was a wave of outrage among fans, expressing the fear that the Spanish company would set about destroying the series they had grown to love.
So far, Dorna has been careful not to get involved in debates about the technical regulations which seem to be so close to fans’ hearts, its only criteria so far appearing to be a demand that bikes should cost 250,000 euros for an entire season.
Yet it has already make one move which has a serious negative impact on the series: it is clamping down on video footage from inside the paddock.
There was some consternation – and there is still some confusion – about the situation at the first round of WSBK at Phillip Island at the end of February. Where previously, teams and journalists had been free to shoot various videos inside the paddock, there were mixed signals coming from Dorna management, with some people told there was an outright and immediate ban, with threats of serious consequences should it be ignored, while others were saying that they had heard nothing on the subject.
That Dorna is determined to reduce the amount of free material on YouTube became immediately clear after the race weekend was over: in previous years, brief, two-minute race summaries would appear on the official World Superbike Youtube channel after every weekend. After the first race of 2013, only the post-race interviews were posted on the site. It is a long-standing Dorna policy to try to strictly control what ends up on YouTube and what doesn’t. It is its most serious mistake, and one which could end up badly damaging the sport unless it is changed very soon.
Officially official now, Cycle World has been sold to print media giant Bonnier Corporation, owner of such titles as Popular Science, Parenting, Field & Stream, and other niche-market publications. Acquired from the Hearst Corporation, Cycle World will maintain its current editorial and writing staff as it moves to Bonnier, and from what we’ve gathered talking to CW employees the transition is being viewed favorably, and is in the best interest of the publication. This is the second time Cycle World has changed hands this year, as the publication was sold by Hachette Filipacchi to Hearst this past February.