The media landscape continues to rapidly change, with the last month alone producing stories of buyouts, fresh appointments and record breaking digital figures. In part one of a series of catch ups with the UK’s top cycling publishers, BikeBiz talks to Cyclist, Future Publishing, IPC Media, Singletrack, VeloVision and sister-title Electric Bike Magazine. Part one of our media round up can be found here.
BikeBiz Award winning Cyclist has been deemed by those in the trade to be the specialist consumer magazine of the year and Dennis, the publisher of the title, is doing plenty to re-enforce its status.
Publisher Nicola Bates told BikeBiz that success has come on the back of lots of hard work from the team to differentiate the title from the competition.
“Cyclist uses only exclusive photography, working with some of the country’s best photographers. We seek out undiscovered cycling venues around Europe that readers will want to visit and dream about; we engage debate among the industry’s top experts on topics regarding training and bike design; and we look at the workings of pro teams that aren’t apparent on the TV.”
Having established itself against strong competition in the road cycling world, Bates has faith in the title, which is still realtively young, having come to market only in September of 2012.
“The performance of the magazine and the app over the last 18 months has exceeded all expectations,” added Bates. “We now have over 9,000 print subscribers, plus we’re regularly selling over 14,000 on the UK and OS newsstands. This translates to a 20 per cent increase in total print circulation YoY (first six issues of trading vs. comparable issue YoY) We will be looking to release our first ABC for Jan-Dec 2014.”
Published 13 times per year, Cyclist is targeted squarely at the middle aged man in lycra, the segment of the market that in recent times seems to have been driving a large chunk of the industry’s sales. And increasingly, this audience is tech savvy.
“Complementing the print product is an enhanced HTML5 Apple and Android (phone and tablet) app, offering the same quality of imagery and editorial in a format designed to make the most of the tablet’s and phone’s features. All articles have been redesigned for ease of reading, and the app includes additional elements such as video and 360° rotating pictures,” explains Bates. “We have 17,000 active users on average per issue, and within this number we have over 4,000 regular subscribers to the app.”
With a healthy interest in advertising within the award-winning magazine, the May issue is set to fill a whopping 228 pages. It doesn’t stop with the magazine, however. The publisher is planning to publish three new books in 2014 and going into 2015 will be planning further brand extensions, including on and off the bike events, merchandise, apps, specials and further books.
“It’s exciting times ahead and we thank the cycling trade and industry for all of their support,” concludes Bates.
Let’s get the big news out of the way first. This September Singletrack has plans to launch another magazine, this time a digital only title centred around the world of cyclocross. Set to be supported by its own website and forum, GritCX and web platform Grit.cx is currently in the works, with the URL set to go live toward the end of August.
According to Singletrack’s publisher Mark Alker: “There will be a new editorial team heading up the digital mag and website. I’ll be publisher and Chipps will be managing editor with an overseeing eye on things editorial. The website will launch right after Eurobike and the first digital issue will be published at the beginning of October.”
Having altered the subscriptions model in recent years, Singletrack’s package is unique in that it gives members access to all our content on whatever device they have, from print through to mobile – It’s all include in one subscription. What’s more, the publisher has just launched a type of website subscription that gives readers access to all ‘Premier’ content, with the exception of the mag archive, for just £1.49/month.
Publisher Mark Alker told BikeBiz: “Subscriptions overall have continued to grow and in January we had over 7,000 Premier subscribers. While the High Street continues to be the last place people are choosing to buy magazines our network of Premier Bike Shop dealers has continued to grow and we now have over 60 bike shops proudly claiming to be a Singletrack Premier Dealer, each offering something exclusively special to all our Premier members.”
Google Analytics figures seen by BikeBiz show that Singletrack is enjoying around 1.4 million unique visitors a month, who between them rack up some 9.5 million page views.
VeloVision and Electric Bike Magazine
York-based Velo Vision Ltd continues to serve strong niche markets with its international subscription title Velo Vision Magazine for cargo bikes, recumbents, all ability cycling and other specialist designs.
Its other title, free-distribution Electric Bike Magazine, is still fairly unique in the cycling media world with its extensive hand-on reviews of current electric bike models, and this quality content helps it attract consistently strong support from the UK’s electric bike sector.
One of the few publishers to ABC audit their magazines and digital traffic, Future Publishing’s main growth has predictably come from digital, while print generally continues to pose problems as sales slip.
Mark Wood, CEO of Future, said: “Our strategic transition towards becoming a digitally-focused content business continues and is clearly reflected in this set of ABC figures, which again underlines our position as the number one publisher of digital editions in the UK.”
Neither Pro Cycling nor Triathlon Plus were submitted to ABC for auditing this year.
Mountain Biking UK
With mountain biking titles having had a rough year, it’s not actually an awful dip in numbers when accounting for digital sales from what is seemingly the UK’s most read mountain biking title.
Print and digital combined for Mountain Biking UK totals 36,299 copies sold, with print accounting for 33,377 of those sales, a dip on last year’s average of 38,701 copies per issue.
The magazine has increased its price by 15p year-on-year, bringing the cost of an issue to a mere £4.50.
What Mountain Bike
Much the same story with What Mountain Bike, which is also fighting the decline in interest in off-road print media.
This year’s average sale per issue sits at 14,861, with 11,869 of those made up of print copies. Digital has grown, with last year’s figure of 2,204 sales per issue rising to 2,992.
Future’s success story for 2013/14 is £4.75 road-title Cycling Plus, which is on the right track, actually registering a rare rise in average circulation, going from 45,626 to 45,640. Digital has kept the title punching above the 50,000 mark, with the combined total coming in at 51,155, a small increase on last year’s total of 50,015.
IPC’s leading road title continues to produce 51 issues annually and has held its retail price of £2.99 per issue.
Stat-wise, the title has held its ground fairly well, having posted only a slight overall dip in combined print and digital. Print and digital combined totalled 28,809 copies per issue for the period beginning January 1st 2013 to December 31st. Last year’s figure was 28,834 for print alone, suggesting that digital has made up for a drop off to an average of 27,841 print copies sold.
On the back of a significant jump in sales averages last year, Cycle Sport hasn’t been able to keep the ball rolling, with last year’s 21,495 print circulation dipping to sit at a 19,614 for both print and digital sales. At £4.75, Cycle Sport is IPC’s priciest title, though this didn’t stop an average of 18,560 print magazines selling each month.
Mountain Bike Rider
Having added 10p to its on the shelf price, IPC’s mountain bike title is now £4.50 an issue and recording average sales of 21,405 per issue, with print and digital are taken into account.
Last year print alone recorded 23,679 sales per issue, yet was one of the titles to post the sharpest decline, down from an average of 28,204 sales per issue in 2012. Print sale averages from the period running January 1st though December 31st came in at 20,495.
On the back of last year’s 13.3 per cent increase in readership, Cycling Active has sadly also posted a decline in readership, dropping from a print tally of 25,004 readers per issue, to a combined print and digital tally of 23,152. The £4.25 print magazine made up 22,555 of the sales on average, per issue.