Effective as of February 1, 2020, Lumina Media, the publishing company behind Motorcycle Consumer News and Auto Restorer magazines announced its dissolution. The notice posted to the company’s website doesn’t say why it’s shutting its doors, but it does say the January issue of Motorcycle Consumer News that was distributed 17, 2020, would be the last.
This is yet another instance of a motorcycle publisher going under. Motorcycle Consumer News was exactly what its name suggests—a motorcycle publication designed for the regular motorcyclist. It’s a shame to see another publication disappear.
One of Many to Leave the Arena
One of our readers, Rick Norton sent us a message about the Lumina Media closure and was curious about our thoughts on the subject. So, Rick, I can’t speak for everyone on staff, but here’s my take on the situation.
Some folks might think that one less motorcycle publication would be a good thing for us, but they’d be wrong. More active players in any industry is generally good for the entire industry, and healthy competition is something that is often indicative of a healthy business model and a healthy industry.
Plus, most motorcycle riders are readers of multiple motorcycle magazines, so it’s really less of us competing with another publication as it is all of us thriving.
Publishing magazines—digital and otherwise—has gone through some major shifts in the last few decades. Print magazines, in particular, are especially hard to make profitable. Many publications have gone under. Others have gone digital. Sport Rider, Hot Bike, Motorcyclist, and several others are really a shadow of what they once were (if they exist at all).
Part of this is down to the fact that the big companies that buy and run these publications are not interested in investing the needed money to keep them going. Motorcycle publications, even print ones, can make a profit, but it takes a lot of work and investment. It’s not a fast way to big profits. Going digital makes things easier from an operations standpoint, but comes with its own challenges.
I think if done right and targeted at the right audience a print publication can still thrive, but the niche has to be extremely narrow and usually focused on high-end products with high price points. It has to connect with an affluent readership who wants to pay top dollar for a physical magazine rather than take in info on a phone or computer. It’s about the experience of reading a magazine as much as it is about the magazine itself.
The days of the general news magazine, even one targeted specifically at motorcyclists, are over. Print simply isn’t as important as it used to be.
There’s also the fact that many print publications came from a world where there was a lot more money in publishing news in general. The internet changed that. In order to be successful and survive, a print publication has to run extremely lean. It’s also not likely to make boatloads of money like magazines and newspapers used to. The digitals space isn’t an avenue for guaranteed success, but that’s where the momentum is, so if you can figure out that space and have an audience, you’ll do okay.
I have to reiterate here, that these are just my personal opinions on the state of print and digital publishing. I’m by far not the authority on the subject, but after having worked in digital publishing for years, what I’ve said here is the sense I get. Others in the industry and folks on staff at this publication may have other thoughts.
Luckily for us at Web Bike World, we thrive in the digital space and will continue to do so through passionate content, a strong team of individuals, and leaders who care. Web Bike World has been an online authority in the motorcycle world for decades now. Started by one of the best in the business, we strive to carry on his legacy and expand the publication’s offerings to our audience.
We’re not going anywhere, and we appreciate you spending your time with us. We welcome your comments and suggestions.