During February, the month when the Audit Bureau of Circulation verified figures for print (and sometimes digital) magazines land, BikeBiz took some time out to interview several of the cycling industry's consumer facing publishers. Here we catch up with Mark Alker, the publisher of Singletrack and Grit.cx:
In recent years Singletrack has taken a long, hard look at which direction publishing is heading, making alterations here and there to offer loyal subscribers more. In fact the publisher has described the business as an evolving “publishing and technology” company for the first time.
This year it’s the independent bike dealer’s turn to benefit from Singletrack’s plans, explains publisher Mark Alker: “One of the most exciting projects we have on the boil at the moment is our R&D project developing iBeacon technology for our network of Premier dealers. These are little devices that sit next to the till that trigger ‘actions’ on the phones and in the accounts of our 7,000 subscribers if and only if they visit that dealer and come within range of the iBeacon.”
In essence the project is designed to get the publisher’s 1.5 million monthly unique users to interact with physical shops. Building on the existing Premier Dealer App, Alker says the technology will potentially help get tills ringing.
“Our subscribers already have access to our dedicated Premier Dealer App that not only lists all our Premier Dealer’s details and offers, but will also plot the quickest route to any dealer’s shop from wherever the user is at that point. It’s this app that will transform into a new connection between potential customers and real dealers.”
The print product remains well read, with print subscriptions having grown, according to Alker. A thicker paper stock and a redesign may also be imminent.
Still fairly fresh to the industry is Grit.cx, Singletrack’s sister title dedicated to cyclocross. As is to be expected, the title is still establishing its place in the market, explains Alker.
“Issue 4 of grit.cx is due in the coming weeks and despite being a digital-only magazine it will be hitting printed paper in April as we produce what will become a regular printed annual containing the best bits of the digital issues, plus exclusively written and photographed content. The Grit.cx website is growing steadily and reaches over 6,000 unique users a month currently with over 2,000 registered users and the 430 magazine subscribers.”