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Pocket Outdoor Media, the parent company to VeloNews, Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, Beta, Roll Massif, and nearly 30 other active living brands has purchased Outside magazine, Outside TV, Gaia GPS, Peloton magazine, and athleteReg.
Additionally, Pocket Outdoor Media is rebranding to Outside, effective Monday.
“Adding these businesses to our portfolio and rebranding Pocket is a transformative moment for us,” says Robin Thurston, CEO of the new Outside.
“These brands make our new company the world’s leading creator of active living content, experiences, travel, and services. We now deliver content to almost every home in America across every platform, screen, and device.”
Pocket Outdoor Media (now Outside), has been scooping up brands and talent from all over the active lifestyle market. Last summer, POM acquired a suite of brands from Active Interest Media, including Backpacker, SKI, Climbing, Yoga Journal, SNEWS, and 13 others.
Then, in October, the company acquired Big Stone Publishing, which includes Rock & Ice, Gym Climber, and Trail Runner.
And when A360 Media abruptly shuttered Powder, Bike, Surfer, and Snowboarder in December 2020, Thurston immediately picked up the phone and started recruiting talent. The result: Sierra Shafer and Micah Abrams came on board to lead SKI and Warren Miller Entertainment. And Nicole Formosa and several others from Bike were brought in to launch a brand new mountain bike brand: Beta.
There were several other acquisitions during the fall of 2020, like Paleo magazine and FinisherPix.
Peloton joins the VeloNews family
Peloton is an award-winning producer of inspirational storytelling and photography. With the acquisition, Pocket Outdoor Media, adds another brand and team to its expanding cycling network, joining BRAIN, VeloNews and Beta, publications dedicated to industry news, professional racing, and mountain biking, respectively.
“Cycling participation and sales are booming, and we’re moving aggressively to create content and drive participation in all categories, from road to mountain to e-bike and indoor,” Thurston says. “Brad Roe and his team have built a beautiful and influential property since founding Peloton magazine a decade ago, and his leadership will be instrumental in creating the super-premium content that will be central to the success of our Active Pass membership strategy. Whether it’s podcasting, video, or feature storytelling, Brad has a gift for manifesting the beauty and freedom of the cycling experience.”
“Joining POM is a blessing for Peloton’s staff, partners, and contributors,” said Roe, who will become editorial director of POM’s Cycling Group. “We’ll gain access to new creative and production capabilities, and the stories and brand collaborations our team creates will reach a much larger audience. As the North American print partner of the Tour de France and Flanders Classics, our work will be seen by a greater number of readers. We are particularly delighted to provide more exposure for the talented and diverse crew of photographers and writers we work with around the globe.”
Peloton complements the company’s family of cycling titles, which includes VeloNews, VeloPress, BRAIN, Triathlete, and Beta, as well as the event company Roll Massif.
“As a lifelong cyclist, I’m personally thrilled to welcome Peloton, one of my go-to reads for its evocative celebrations of the sport,” said Thurston.
AthleteReg, parent company of BikeReg, also has a major role in cycling events across the country. Bikereg and USACycling announced a partnership last year.
An Outside legend moves on
Outside reaches 38 million people a month across all platforms. Founder, chairman, and editor-in-chief of Outside Integrated Media, Larry Burke, has had countless opportunities to sell over the years, but he never found the right fit.
“Like Robin, I’ve always believed in the power of great storytelling,” said Burke, who will be retiring from his day-to-day duties at Outside to work on his memoir. “When we published our first issue of Outside magazine in 1977, we helped give birth to what is now an $887 billion outdoor industry, and we’ve been pioneering the art of adventure ever since. Our stories have won awards in print, video, and film, and we’ve inspired millions of people to ‘live bravely.’ It’s everything I could’ve wanted to do with my life, and I’m delighted to find such a good home for Outside among POM’s outdoor brands.”
All employees of Outside (as well as Outside TV, Gaia GPS, Peloton, and athleteReg) will receive job offers, and no relocation will be required. “It’s a marriage made in media heaven,” Outside’s Scott Parmelee told SNEWS. “We can’t wait to start bringing this new energy to our partners in the outdoor and active lifestyle industry.”
Active Pass membership model ties everything together
All the brands come together in POM’s membership program, Active Pass. Launched in 2020, the Active Pass program was designed to create a hub for members to receive exclusive access to premium content, education, and training, access, and discounts on gear and events, and innovative platforms and services to improve access to and quality of people’s active experiences.
“As we bring these brands onto our platform, our customers will see new benefits added to the membership: advanced navigation tools that’ll keep people safe while skiing and backpacking; exclusive access to first-run documentaries; access to member-only adventures; expanded gear discounts; and—of course—the option for members to select an annual subscription to their favorite print magazine,” said Thurston.
“This is all in addition to hundreds of dollars in value in the form of premium digital content, magazines, event entries and photography, training plans, recipes, books, a personalized feed, and interactive experiences with editors, pro athletes, coaches, and other experts.”
Behind the rebrand from Pocket Outdoor Media to Outside
A rebranding project has been underway at Pocket Outdoor Media since summer 2020 when Thurston made it clear that his company was much more than a traditional media entity. Thurston’s vision is to build what he calls the Amazon Prime of the active lifestyle: a connected, holistic ecosystem of resources — including content, experiences, utilities, community, commerce, education, and services — that can be customized for each active lifestyle enthusiast.
When the Outside acquisition was confirmed, the lightbulb went off. “It’s hard to imagine a more succinct, impactful, and inspiring name than Outside,” said Thurston.
“Being outside, being active and healthy, and conducting business in an environmentally responsible way is at the center of everything we do here. So not only did we acquire two amazing brands, we also found the company name that we had been searching for.”