|Total Mountain Bike magazine, published|
by Future Publishing hasn’t got one. A future, that is. Subscribers were told the
current issue – Jan 2000 – will be the last.
When it was launched, it called Total Bike and the industry was promised a magazine
that would expand the marketplace because of its breadth of editorial. The first
few issues looked good but ‘laddishness’ soon took over and the magazine became Total
Mountain Bike. Bra shots of Nurse Norma and tests of five different varieties of
baked beans became, it seemed at times, just as important as tests on you know, what
do you call them, oh yeah, bikes.
The magazine was fighting for ad spend and cover sales with MBR, MMB as well as Future’s
own MBUK and this didn’t please MBUK insiders. Total Mountain Bike has been getting
thinner and thinner over the past few months as ad sales dried up. With a glut of
mountain bike magazines, it was clear one or more wouldn’t last the year.
"If there are too many magazines that look the same, offer the same style of
editorial, and cover the same things, then there will be casualties." said Mark
Noble, editor of Dirt and Ride BMX, in BikeBiz trade magazine issue 1.
At least two more titles – from different publishers – are currently at risk because
of poor cover and ad sales. Future’s decision to shelve Total Mountain Bike probably
won’t come as any comfort to the struggling magazines and may make the decision to
chop the titles easier for the publishers concerned.
BikeBiz has interviewed a number of major bike magazine advertisers recently and
there is a growing reluctance to support the variety of MTB magazines available,
especially as they either ape each other or concentrate too heavily on niche parts
of the market such as downhilling. Only those magazines with a genuine editorial
difference – or with publishers willing to lose a load of money in order to save
face – will survive into the summer.