Thursday, January 13, 2022

VeloNews is dead!


Another one bites the dust, as they say. The OUTSIDE Magazine conglomerate bought up various titles not too long ago and anyone who didn't see this coming must walk with a white cane or hold onto a dog.

A good history up to a previous sale of the mag can be found HERE. Zio Lorenzo can remember the original newspaper from Vermont and how excited he was when JW and Co. took over. This was at the same time Zio began his bike tour work and a couple of the richie-rich backers of the thing joined us on a TdF race-chasing tour around this time.

They had the cartoons of Patrick O'Grady and Zio's favorite, "At the Back" by Maynard Hershon, complete with illustrations by David Brinton.

But the magazine went downhill fast once JW and Co. were gone as did most of the English-language cycling print mags with the exception of Rouleur from the UK, all of 'em overshadowed by free online publications I guess?

Trying to advertise our cycling vacations became a real challenge and much more expensive as the magazines wanted payment for the print advertising and another payment for online. The result seemed like a doubling of costs for nowhere near the doubling of the audience while for them neither print nor online versions were very profitable. The results were the quality of the writing deteriorated, sometimes it seemed the writers would just give 'em stuff free, just to see their name in-print!

So along come the "vulture capitalists" to gobble the titles up, kind of like how the big bike brands gobble up independent bike retail stores in the USA? They pick over the carcass, get rid of some competitors and then what?

As is usually the case consolidation is the game-plan so it looks like all that's left in-print is a "Rouleur wannabee" named Peloton. Zio wonders why they kept that title with the troubles of the indoor cycling company of the same name, but since he's not a vulture capitalist how should he know?

Meanwhile, here in La Bella Paese we have BICISPORT which has just upgraded their printing, binding, etc. and brags the January issue is already sold-out in places! At one time they even had a digital edition in English but sadly that seems to be a thing of the past.

Makes one wonder why print is going away in one place but seemingly thriving in another? Zio's guess is the quality of BICISPORT hasn't deteriorated in the way so many English-language mags have. The buying-selling seemed to reduce the quality of those print magazines to the point they were no longer worth the money - making free English-language cycling coverage online much more popular. 

Now that many of the English-language (Italian ones are still generally free, but full of annoying pop-up ads) online magazines are going behind paywalls, will their quality improve? Zio's too cheap to pay to find out! Instead he'll pop by his favorite newsstand each month and pay 5 euros for BICISPORT in print and fill-in with whatever is still free online.

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