|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.