Saturday, May 30, 2009

New Freestyle BMX magazine for Australia?

Alistair Finlay from Victoria wrote this interesting piece regarding the launch of the new BMX freestyle publication in Australia, BMX Life. Read on & feel free to leave a comment...

So in news that went unreported in almost every bmx circle over the last month (and by unreported I mean that I didn’t see it on any of the RSS feeds I get), Australia is getting a new freestyle BMX magazine.

Okay, that’s not 100% true, in fact Australia is actually getting about .5 of a new BMX magazine.

You see BMXPress is dividing its operation into two different publications.

BMXPress will continue on as a BMX race only magazine and a new publication called ‘BMX Life’ will be dedicated to freestyle. At this stage both magazines will quarterly, as opposed to once every two months that the old BMXPress was.

Issue one of Australia’s newest freestyle BMX magazine

So, in the end, having little more information that I just divulged above, I decided to give the self proclaimed ‘editor in chief’ of both mags, Warwick Wheeler a call.

Over about twenty or so minutes of a reasonably stock standard BMX conversation, Warwick talked about things like his flatland credentials, how he wanted to see flatland in the new magazine and his ethos of BMX photos.

Warwick’s seems an odd fellow, I had never spoken to him before and only really seen him at a few events where flatland was also on the bill as opposed to the bill.

His accent matches his name, which is to say he posses a tendency to pronounce every letter in the word and the overall result being you feel like you’re chatting over the phone to your plumber.

Except your plumber doesn’t use words like ‘gnarly’ and ‘scene’ or ‘underground’ (unless talking about sewage) and doesn’t hold stock standard BMX phone conversations.

During our chat, Warwick did kind of claim that the reason there hasn’t been much flat content in his publications in the past was because 2020 managed to attract all the contributors that used to submit stuff to him.

2020 - market leader

But it’s important to temper any critique about the volume of flat content in BMXPress or BMX Life with the knowledge that Warrick isn’t a flatlander. Unlike Holmes and Pollack, Warrick has never really been exposed to the flat scene and hasn’t kept up with the diversification of its culture.

Ten minutes on the phone with Warrick is enough to reveal this.

As such he has come to rely on the input of others for content. If those people haven’t been forthcoming there hasn’t been any content.

‘I can’t tell what is and isn’t a good flat photo the way I can with dirt. That’s why I go Stumpy to write the words for the BMXgames report in the mag’ Warrick says.

He plans on calling the usual suspects for help generating flat content for BMX Life (people like the afore mentioned Stumpy as well as Stu and the such like – so expect a phone call fellas) as well as hoping that aspiring flatland photographers and writers will get in contact with him.

The thing is, I’m not so sure if now is the time to be launching a new BMX magazine title.

Whilst sales aren’t down across the board for print media at the moment, advertising revenue certainly is, and whilst some industries are flat, on face value there seems to be no greater or less number of BMX related companies starting up or going to the wall.

The question is, can the local market place support one more magazine at the moment?

Warwick is placing his bets on it can and the idea that more magazine titles means greater protection against falling revenue saying ‘a title like Rebel Yell is at risk because if their advertising falls then where else is the money going to come from?’.

Rebel Yell – ‘at risk from falling advertising revenue’ says Warwick

This strategy however would be more affective if Australian BMX distributors, who are also the advertisers, weren’t so tied up in both the race and freestyle markets.

In the end, regardless of whether BMX Life sinks or swims in the long term, if Warwick’s plans for flatland coverage in the mag are even partly realised then it can only be good for flatland.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting blog on BMX Life..If you want to make it more interesting you should have BMX Apparels for once.

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