Growing up in Western New York I read snowboarding magazines religiously to escape from the mundane world I was surrounded in. While my teachers would preach to me the benefits of becoming a dairy farmer, diesel mechanic, or working at Wal Mart, I would slip away into the world the magazines created. For about fourteen years now I’ve held various magazine subscriptions, but some where in that time frame I’ve drifted from sitting right down and engrossing myself in their pages, to instead delegating them to the appropriate reading room to be perused through occasionally. With how we get our information is there still a need for print media in the snowboard world?
Yesterday Source Interlink filed for a pre-packaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy. What’s that have to do with snowboarding? They’re the publisher of Snowboarder Magazine. Now this doesn’t necessarily mean the magazine is gone, just means that the company is going to be restructuring and trying to eliminate debt. Although being 1.5 billion, yes that’s right billion, it’s going to be interesting.
This adds to the original question of is print media dead? According to last weeks poll on here, 68% of you feel magazines still have their place, 5% said no, and 25% are all about the Internet. Has anyone picked up a magazine lately and seen how thin they’ve become? Transworld lost 9.8% of their advertising revenue since last year according to Magazine Publishers of America. Which I guess you could say is more thriller and less filler, I know I’m not complaining about that. Although the content of magazines seems to make snowboarding look less approachable to most people. How many people are in the percentile that can afford Heli or cat trips? It’s a very small percentage.
The Internet is definitely taking away from them. If you do a google search of snowboard news sites you get almost 300,000 links and if you type in snowboard blogs you get 2.5 million more options. I haven’t used a snowboard magazine or its site to get my shred news in years. It’s far to easy to just log on hit up the few blogs I frequent and see what’s going on, add to that all the video hosting sites out there and why bother reading an article from someone who took pictures of the event when you can either watch it streamed live or catch the video of it. Case in point the Grenade Games, you can watch that on hundreds of sites. You won’t need to wait 5 months till a new issue hits your door steps to see what went down. Let alone the ability to make snowboarding look more approachable by the masses is here. TJ Schnieder with his Snowboard Realms is a great example of this, possibly one of the best ways to get people involved. Magazines need to find a way to make the content allow readers to see snowboarding as not such an elitist hobby. Anyone else think there’s a slight level of disenfranchisement with magazine content and the average reader? Personally I haven’t felt connected to a magazine in years, I read the articles and think OK I’m not going to afford to take a Heli up a mountain 7 days straight.
That’s the one beautiful thing about all these blogs from all over the world. You have people show casing what snowboarding is to them. The Jon Burns interview on The Extreme Scene talks about it briefly, if you have some time it’s a pretty solid listen with a bunch of good points. So what is the ultimate point I’m getting at? It’s that big magazines have lost sight of what they need to connect with readers. Ultimately these small magazines like Arkade and All Us are far more interesting to read because they actually captivate the audience. We’re also at a point where we could see a full fledged switch to Internet media instead of holding out to print media.
What do you guys have to say about this? We’d love to hear what you have to say.