With the increase in websites covering cycle media, Youtube’s archive of titles both past and present, and the public’s relaxed attitude to file sharing, you may wonder whatever happened to the cycling DVD. However, the industry opinion shown below says that the cycling DVD is far from dead…
"We’re doing really well with the Odyssey DVD ‘Electronical’ title, but I’m happy to believe that DVD sales have slowed down. I don’t want to buy a DVD unless it offers something a lot more than the dozens of web edits that you can watch for free on websites, such as Thecomeup, each day.
"I guess the days of low budget scene DVDs (and to some extent video magazines) being sold in bike shops are more or less over. Some titles can never be replaced by the internet. If it’s something that you’re still going to want to watch in five or ten years time then I don’t think there is a problem with asking people to pay £15 or £20 for a DVD."
Jamie Cameron, at IMG Distribution
"Well in our experience YouTube has not affected major DVD title releases, if anything it has helped them.
"Basically smaller name titles, and average road trip DVD’s don’t sell like they used to, before a company could put out a DVD and sell a thousand or so, and make a decent profit, but now this is not the case for your average DVD.
For example, Fitlife this was on YouTube and Google video before it came out in the UK, and to date has been our best selling DVD, we still order it in and sell it now, two years after it originally came out. The Props Road Fools series DVD’s still sell through. Any solid DVD, from a good brand, with the right riders will continue to do so.
"So yeah, I think it is just the average DVD’s that have suffered, but a major release still sells as good as it used to, plus is viewed by way more people, as it is on YouTube or Vimeo as well."
Dean Hearne, product designer, 4Down Distribution
"On first thought I felt that there may have been a decline. However, looking at our sales figures a bit more closely, I’m not sure there has been a slow down. Our stock has been reduced over the last three years as we have better access to our suppliers stock. The sales figures on the big titles are consistent with four or five years ago. I would say the biggest difference for us has been more saturation, in particular the bike magazines selling titles directly to their readers.
"As far as the video sharing sites go most of the bike titles with decent production would still look much better on a TV than small on computer screen."
Ben Gaby, marketing manager, Paligap
"Although not a major stockist of cycle media, we review approaches from various titles as they come. Titles such as New World disorder 9 –the latest edition in the series – obviously have a huge following so are highly worth its place in our stock."
Richard Peploe, product director at Madison
Big name DVD seem to be surviving, but what about the books?
General consensus returns the verdict that the cycle DVD has fought off the advances of YouTube, Vimeo and specialist websites such as TheComeUp, however, how are publishers coping with the rise of the blog, social networking portals and specialist websites?
Managing director of Vertebrate Publishing, Jon Barton told BikeBiz: "We have had month-on-month growth for the last three or four years, all the titles sell very well, our guide to the North and South Downs in particular is proving a winner. I think the combination of really well researched routes and clear descriptions keep people coming back again and again for our books. Several of the titles, for example Lake District, Dark Peak and White Peak are on their second editions. We get good four figure monthly unit sales. Individual titles like Lake District Mountain Biking sell several hundred per month."
So can these seemingly positive figures put cash in the tills of cycle retailers?
Barton added: "We sell direct to the cycle trade, but also sell well into the general book trade, titles such as Mountain Biking Trail Centres is ‘core’ stock at Waterstones. Some shops such as JeJames order from us at least twice a month, the books tend to do very well in ‘local bike shops’, they are a quick solution to that age-old question “can you suggest anywhere to ride?
"I have always thought that bike stores in particular like our books because they encourage hardcore riding, which is a good user and abuser of kit, which is good for trade. Sometimes it can be a little hard to merchandise books in some stores, but invariably the staff ride, will use the books and then support them well at the point of purchase. Having a series of titles is also popular with cycle shops, some stores do better with say the Lake District guidebook than they do with their local guidebook."
So, on the back of consistent and promising performance, internet blogs would seemingly do very little damage to the volumes of printed cycling titles purchased.
Barton concludes: "The internet is a great tool but is very much ‘open’ and so I think a published book has the authority that a good brand such as Vertebrate Publishing can command. That is not to say that the internet isn’t important in the ‘guidebook’ business, our latest title comes with its own site, www.ukmountainbiking.co.uk, which is a resource of updates to the Trail Centres book. I think for us it gets easier to sell because of the internet, web users are very quick to recommend our titles."