Pocket Outdoor Media, the parent company of VeloNews, has acquired Rock and Ice, Trail Runner, and Gym Climber magazines, all formerly produced by Big Stone Publishing, a Colorado-based publishing group.
The news was announced Friday afternoon.
The deal brings outdoor climbing’s two biggest publications, Rock and Ice and Climbing, under one roof for the first time in history. It also adds substantial clout to Pocket Outdoor Media’s running category, which already includes Women’s Running and Podiumrunner.com
“It’s our goal to create the best products in these categories and improve the consumer experience, period,” Pocket CEO Robin Thurston told SNEWS. “We don’t want to be average here. We need to be great. To do that, we need to scale. This acquisition will help achieve that.”
The acquisitions continued Pocket’s growth through 2020. In June the company announced the purchase of more than 20 media titles from Active Interest Media. Those titles included Climbing, Backpacker, Yoga Journal, and Ski magazines, among other titles, as well as Warren Miller Entertainment. The acquisitions continue the company’s goal to become the hub for active lifestyle enthusiasts looking to live a balanced and healthy lifestyle.
Thurston noted that the news comes on the same week that Bike, Surfer, Snowboarder, and Powder magazines announced plans to “pause” publication indefinitely.
“Vertical publications are under attack because many of them operate on a model based only on advertising, which has been under extreme pressure for the last 10 years,” he said. “There’s an opportunity to let these brands flourish under a new model that combines advertising, digital subscription, e-commerce, and events.”
Pocket Outdoor Media’s model includes Active Pass, the company’s subscription membership program that includes benefits like access to Roll Massif events, a strategic training partnership with Today’s Plan, and premium content, among other perks.
“As a consumer, you look at this as a daily destination and say, ‘They have so much content across this platform, I need access to it,'” said Thurston. “If there’s anything we want to be known for, it’s recreating the model for these active lifestyle brands and breathing new life into them—giving them a new opportunity to tell important stories and inspire people to do these activities.”