Online's reputation as a bike shop and print mag killer is in doubt

HARKING ON: New bike shops and magazine launches in 2015 - wasn't the internet meant to have stopped all that?
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TV was meant to kill the cinema, online retail was meant to kill local High Street shops and the internet was meant to kill print magazines.

Those all seemed solid predictions at the time they were made and if we’re being honest there’s more than a nugget of truth in all of those forecasts, but - let’s face it - each of those predictions has come back to bite the original sayer on the a*se.

Today we’ve a couple of news stories; one about a new print magazine launching and one covering a new local bike shop opening at the weekend. Is it odd that these should be occurring in 2015, when the internet has supposed to have superseded them and reduced magazines and local shops to history?

Evidently not: That new local shop - Cyclewise in Cockermouth - is one of many new bike shop openings taking place on an almost weekly basis in the cycle market.

What about print magazines? That’s a slightly more tricky area - we’ve the new Endless mag but that comes in the same year that Factory Media turned Ride and Dirt online only. Outside the cycle trade, previous print giants FHM and Zoo closed their print magazines just a few weeks ago. But on the other hand Dennis has launched two cycle mags in the past three years…

Both print magazines and local bike shops are facing competition from the internet, and there have been casualties for both, with closures thanks in part to the rise of online. Maybe it’s a tenuous argument - to link magazines with shops - but both were supposed to be killed off by the internet, when the reality is that the tenacious, diversifying and maybe even lucky ones have survived - and others new mags and shops have launched to join them.

The ‘net has left an unmistakable mark on both sectors and changed them forever, which sounds a bit dramatic, but is essentially true. It's up to print mags and shops to focus on the things that the 'net can't compete with - like face-to-face service, articles that last longer than a minute and the rest.

Even predictions that seem cast iron certainties at the time can turn out to be dropped clangers of epic proportions and talk of print and local shops dying thanks to the internet are turning out to be about as accurate as the one about TV killing off the cinema. But that's not to say it's time to rest on the old laurels, when cinema went and created innovations like IMAX, 3D or 4DX to help keep pulling in the punters...

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