Bonnier Motorcycle Group

Brave New World is the title of a 1932 novel by Aldous Huxley with a dystopian view of a hypothetical future society that is disoriented by new ways of being. This has some parallels to the motorcycle publishing industry, especially in the medium of printed magazines.

The Bonnier Motorcycle Group is the current juggernaut among motorcycle-related publications, as it manages a large majority of popular national moto magazines in America. Titles like Motorcyclist, Cycle World, Hot Bike, Sport Rider and Dirt Rider, among others, fall under the extensive Bonnier umbrella since 2011.

And yet, not all is well at the BMG. In 2017, Motorcyclist converted to a publishing schedule of just six issues a year, while Cycle World reduced its monthly output to 10 times a year. Meanwhile, Sport Rider and Dirt Rider magazines were axed entirely.

Things must be getting worse over at Bonnier. We learned this week that CW, which has been for years the world’s most widely circulated motorcycle magazine, will now be publishing just four issues a year. Additionally, Hot Bike was melded with Baggers to serve the American custom and V-Twin touring audiences with a single publication.

“As we enter a new and exciting year within the motorcycle industry, it is imperative to recognize that the footprint of all media, including that within the motorcycle sector, is encountering significant change,” reads a BMG statement released this week.

“Among these refinements, print media is witnessing the most significant of changes. Consumers continue to enjoy traditional media, but advertising demand in all magazines has steadily decreased. However, it has been proven that Millenials, surprisingly, enjoy the printed product, especially when the magazine is of high-quality, artistic and experiential.”

The BMG also notes that most people now consume digital content across many platforms, stating it “is refining its print content to position it more toward the younger, millennial audience with higher quality products.”

“We have done extensive research with our audience about their media consumption preferences,” said Bonnier Motorcycle Group SVP/Managing Director, Andy Leisner. “While advertisers seek more direct-response ad solutions that we deliver through our digital products, we still have a unique audience of affluent baby boomers plus millennials that value culture-rich, high-quality content delivered in good print magazines. Our focus groups have told us that they will pay more for a beautiful, quality product, so we are redesigning our print brands to deliver a great reading experience that they will covet and value.”

To quote another author: Strange days indeed…