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RidingAgain

Since The Subject of an Austin MTB Print Magazine Has Come up...

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I though maybe folks here could give their feedback on the idea...

Magazine content would follow the model of local, regional, and national presentation, and would have as its mission the development of the local mtb riding community, including helping riders understand the proper approach and conduct to trail use and maintenance.

Here's a rough sketch of the magazine content...

1... Featured places in Austin to ride mountain bikes.

2... Featured Austin mtb personalities and organizations.

3... Article on current and future local trail development.

4... Article on trail building, maintenance, and related etiquette.

5... Featured piece on regional mtb trail development.

6... Featured piece on national trail development.

7... Featured piece on related interests, like camping out, road trips, and competitions.

8... Article on post-ride activities.

9... Section for events.

10... Section for product reviews.

11... Section for related online interests.

12... Section of general and mtb specific fitness and health.

The magazine would be given away at locations through Central Texas... And... Be available for subscription (subscription would include some sort of additional — to the free magazine — value added content).

Magazine would be financed by advertising income.



 

Edited by RidingAgain

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Community Impact doesn't rely on print alone, the digital version is huge. Free magazines end up as land fill, or worse. A digital presence can be a great resource if done right. 

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As someone that creates content (and drives ~200+ users to Austin mountain biking content daily) I can tell you that it is a lot of work. And then you have to sell it. Which is even more work, and the main reason that I fund the whole thing myself and don't use advertisers. I spent years as a designer/typesetter and used to deal with printers and publications all the time - lots of work, not really cost-effective, which is why I no longer do that.

Imagine that you want to have a print magazine available on the streets June 1st. What do your deadlines look like?

  • Physical copies distributed May 24th.
  • Physical copies received from the printer (quality check) May 7th.
  • Files to the printer April 1st (remember you are the smallest guy in the queue.)
  • Proofs from the typesetter by March 15th (you need time to review proofs and potentially change things if they screw up)
  • Content to the typesetter by February 15th.
  • Content creation begins January 1st.

So, if you have an editorial calendar ready now and you have content creators ready to go, then you *might* be able to put something on the streets by June 1st. Realistically the lead time on physically published magazines is so long and the industry moves so fast that there is little opportunity. This is why all of the existing print magazines are either dying or dead.

Oh, and this is a pretty expensive proposition, especially in the startup phase because you don't have the economies of scale/pipelines that your competitors have.

Who will advertise? Nobody for the first 2-3 issues. You'll end up giving away all of the placement hoping that you can extract money from them in 2021. Who will pay for it at the distribution site? Probably nobody when they can get all of that info online. And current. Everything in your magazine will be ~4-6 months out of date. Your competition has the advantage of having previews of new products so that they can cut that lead time to 30-60 days.

This is a TON of work and probably not realistic, but have at it. Everyone should follow their dream. I'll take the under on that bet because you'd be better off trying to revive the dying fax machine industry at this point.

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1 minute ago, AustinBike said:

As someone that creates content (and drives ~200+ users to Austin mountain biking content daily)

You are my first stop if I'm looking for info on somewhere I haven't been yet.

 

38 minutes ago, Leafkiller said:

That would be neat to read. Would there be a section for classifieds? Another way to have the magazine earn some other income?

By the time the magazine hit the streets, the classified would be too out of date to be useful.

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3 minutes ago, TheX said:

By the time the magazine hit the streets, the classified would be too out of date to be useful.

In the age of Facebook, nextdoor and craigslist, the idea of printed classifieds is insane.

All of that content would be fine in an online environment. I could put classifieds on my site. But then I would need to monitor and provide editorial control. That is why I won't even host forums on my site, I don't want the hassle.

On top of that, why would you ever put anything on my site with 200 people a day when the other options give you 200,000+ per day? Hell, even Pinkbike, which is Canadian (I think), would be a better option. Online classifieds are driven by the site traffic, not the specificity to the niche.

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I would be interested in creating occasional content for THIS website. maybe a blog. look at Pink Bike or MTBR. We could create enjoyable stuff for our local audience- product reviews, ride reports, race coverage, trail guides, videos, photographer galleries, rider interviews, shop highlights. some of the threads on this forum are detailed enough that they could be featured as content that is worthy of being elevated above humble forum posts. The forum works well as a temporary venue for this kind of stuff, but it could be better for thoughtful, creative content. it could be a lot of fun, have better results than trying to print a magazine, and offer a creative outlet to local riders. so I'm down.

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1 hour ago, mack_turtle said:

I would be interested in creating occasional content for THIS website. maybe a blog. look at Pink Bike or MTBR. We could create enjoyable stuff for our local audience- product reviews, ride reports, race coverage, trail guides, videos, photographer galleries, rider interviews, shop highlights. some of the threads on this forum are detailed enough that they could be featured as content that is worthy of being elevated above humble forum posts. The forum works well as a temporary venue for this kind of stuff, but it could be better for thoughtful, creative content. it could be a lot of fun, have better results than trying to print a magazine, and offer a creative outlet to local riders. so I'm down.

Many, many likes for you my friend!

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3 hours ago, mack_turtle said:

I would be interested in creating occasional content for THIS website. maybe a blog. look at Pink Bike or MTBR. We could create enjoyable stuff for our local audience- product reviews, ride reports, race coverage, trail guides, videos, photographer galleries, rider interviews, shop highlights. some of the threads on this forum are detailed enough that they could be featured as content that is worthy of being elevated above humble forum posts. The forum works well as a temporary venue for this kind of stuff, but it could be better for thoughtful, creative content. it could be a lot of fun, have better results than trying to print a magazine, and offer a creative outlet to local riders. so I'm down.

If you are looking for an outlet for your creative writing, I can host your blog on austinbike.com. 

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On 12/22/2019 at 7:23 AM, AustinBike said:

As someone that creates content (and drives ~200+ users to Austin mountain biking content daily) I can tell you that it is a lot of work. And then you have to sell it. Which is even more work, and the main reason that I fund the whole thing myself and don't use advertisers. I spent years as a designer/typesetter and used to deal with printers and publications all the time - lots of work, not really cost-effective, which is why I no longer do that.

Imagine that you want to have a print magazine available on the streets June 1st. What do your deadlines look like?

  • Physical copies distributed May 24th.
  • Physical copies received from the printer (quality check) May 7th.
  • Files to the printer April 1st (remember you are the smallest guy in the queue.)
  • Proofs from the typesetter by March 15th (you need time to review proofs and potentially change things if they screw up)
  • Content to the typesetter by February 15th.
  • Content creation begins January 1st.

So, if you have an editorial calendar ready now and you have content creators ready to go, then you *might* be able to put something on the streets by June 1st. Realistically the lead time on physically published magazines is so long and the industry moves so fast that there is little opportunity. This is why all of the existing print magazines are either dying or dead.

Oh, and this is a pretty expensive proposition, especially in the startup phase because you don't have the economies of scale/pipelines that your competitors have.

Who will advertise? Nobody for the first 2-3 issues. You'll end up giving away all of the placement hoping that you can extract money from them in 2021. Who will pay for it at the distribution site? Probably nobody when they can get all of that info online. And current. Everything in your magazine will be ~4-6 months out of date. Your competition has the advantage of having previews of new products so that they can cut that lead time to 30-60 days.

This is a TON of work and probably not realistic, but have at it. Everyone should follow their dream. I'll take the under on that bet because you'd be better off trying to revive the dying fax machine industry at this point.


First off...

This... "...This is why all of the existing print magazines are either dying or dead."... isn't true.

No doubt print products had to make changes (pivot thinking to include a digital product), but contrary to the thinking way back in the late '90s, early '00s... Print didn't die. Not by a long shot. Including mtb specific print magazines.

Second...

Work is normal in work environments. You go to... Work... Because you are going to do... Work.

And as for designer/typesetter work for print publications not being "...cost-effective...", I now many who make a living doing so.

Third...

If you want a print magazine available on the streets June 1st... That would be easy to do if you started in January.

But I wouldn't suggest putting the magazine I've suggested out on the street on June 1st... That's beginning of summer... No, I think the best time would be in the Spring... Maybe around mid-March - mid-April.

Now mid-March would be pushing it to get a magazine out, but mid-April is certainly doable... Especially if you don't get too complicated and go big with page numbers. That's 18 weeks (3 1/2 months). And I'm not talking about a 120-page magazine, or even an 80-page magazine... More like a 30-pager... Just enough to get the concept out to the public and get feedback for the next edition.

Regarding this...

"...Realistically the lead time on physically published magazines is so long and the industry moves so fast that there is little opportunity."

There's the above thinking... And then there are actual statistics...

"...The estimated aggregate revenue of U.S. based periodical publishers has fallen sharply in the past decade from 46 billion U.S. dollars in 2007 to around 28 billion in 2017. The advent of the internet has changed the print publishing industry drastically. Consumers have become accustomed to the advantages offered by internet-based alternatives, making it increasingly difficult for print newspapers and magazines to keep their audiences. Although competition is becoming more and more fierce, the total number of magazine readers in the U.S. has actually seen a slight increase since 2012. The number of magazines in the U.S. has also stayed fairly constant over the years, varying from around 7,383 to 7,218 since 2008."

And just to be clear on the matter of "...the lead time on physically published magazines is so long and the industry moves so fast that there is little opportunity."...

Daily newspapers seem to be able to keep up with the speed required for getting current news out in a timely manner.

If you understand your targeted consumer... And you understand you product... While there will be hurdles to overcome... If you've done your job properly you can produce success.

Fourth...

As with all things, the expense is relative to what you want to do. For sure there is an upfront cost/investment. Shoot, going to the supermarket requires an upfront cost/investment. But there are multiple ways to fund this... Possibly even using a online funding source. And the magazine could be a non-profit business... Or an arm of ARR. And there might be Federal grants available. Or even a successful Austin business person who sees the value of producing the magazine and simply steps up to fund it.

And what will it take $$$-wise to get the first issue out to the public?

For a 30-page magazine produced in three months... Maybe tops, $50-$60,000... On a shoe-string... Half that.

I'm talking maybe 8-10,000 units of a 30-page magazine.

And now to the income aspect...

The statement made was... "...Who will advertise? Nobody for the first 2-3 issues. You'll end up giving away all of the placement hoping that you can extract money from them in 2021."

Again... Not true.

Mountain biking is well established in the Austin community. It's been around for 30+ years, and many businesses benefit from it... Including bike shops, restaurants, and heath/medical facilities and professionals.

Additionally there are bike and accessory/parts manufacturers... MTB specific parks... And MTB specific events.

Now... Add in the additional interest of outdoor trail users in general... Like people who enjoy hiking and camping... Then you open up even more advertising interest.

And as for this...

"Who will pay for it at the distribution site? Probably nobody when they can get all of that info online. And current."

The distribution model would be free... Like the magazines you find in places like Whole Foods and Central Market... You know... The magazines that have been continually given out free in these locations for at least 10 years.

And as for this...

"Everything in your magazine will be ~4-6 months out of date. Your competition has the advantage of having previews of new products so that they can cut that lead time to 30-60 days."

And yet...

As is clearly obvious...

Published print products are still thriving.

Possibly because those who run them stick to facts rather than fiction.

Edited by RidingAgain

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I look forward to seeing it in my local bike shop, along with the other magazines I don't buy. When will you be starting work on this project?

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1 minute ago, TAF said:

I look forward to seeing it in my local bike shop, along with the other magazines I don't buy. When will you be starting work on this project?

You owe me a new cup of coffee, I just spit the one I was drinking all over my laptop screen.

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11 minutes ago, TAF said:

I look forward to seeing it in my local bike shop, along with the other magazines I don't buy. When will you be starting work on this project?

Maybe soon... Maybe not at all.

But for sure I know that if you did see an Austin mtb magazine in your local bike shop you'd absolutely pick it up and go through it... Maybe even take it home and spend time reading it. And then talk to others about what you read. And maybe even do some online research about something you read about.

Meaning...

You'd find it interesting... And useful.

Edited by RidingAgain

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3 minutes ago, TheX said:

You owe me a new cup of coffee, I just spit the one I was drinking all over my laptop screen.


Isn't old age a hell of a thing, old man.

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This whole conversation is moot, we know it will never happen. I do like the idea of seeing what mack_turtle might do with a blog on AustinBike's site.

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1 hour ago, TheX said:

This whole conversation is moot, we know it will never happen. I do like the idea of seeing what mack_turtle might do with a blog on AustinBike's site.

Then don't waste you time participating in it old man.

But then we know for a troll that like impossible.

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10,000,000 results of a Google search "...Austin Tx trails...".

162,000 results for a Google search "...Austin Tx MTB trails...".

947,000 results for a Google search "...Austin Tx mountain bike trails...".

2,450,000 results for a Google search "...Austin Texas hiking trails...".

Easiest test would be to create a website about the idea and then put put a flyer/handout regarding it and see how many hits the website gets.
The beautiful thing about the digital age is that it makes it easy to research and understand what's happening out there... If you know how to properly conduct research that is.

 

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1 hour ago, TheX said:

This whole conversation is moot, we know it will never happen. I do like the idea of seeing what mack_turtle might do with a blog on AustinBike's site.

I see our loquacious friend has already posted five times since I posted ... you'd think his time would be better spent penning volume one of the print edition -- he could probably knock it out in a day!

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18 minutes ago, TAF said:

I see our loquacious friend has already posted five times since I posted ... you'd think his time would be better spent penning volume one of the print edition -- he could probably knock it out in a day!

A man of his obvious talents should have already had a magazine.

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1 hour ago, TheX said:

This whole conversation is moot, we know it will never happen. I do like the idea of seeing what mack_turtle might do with a blog on AustinBike's site.

And in the interest of diversity I look forward to numbnuts submitting his idea's to AustinBike.  That'll be entertaining. 😂

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