Outside Media Continues Hiking and Biking Roll-Up, Buys Pinkbike, CyclingTips, and Trailfork

Essential hiking tool Gaia GPS might become an exclusive to a media empire.

Welcome to BIG, a newsletter on the politics of monopoly power. If you’d like to sign up to receive issues over email, you can do so here. The original version of this story was published on March 2, 2021.

From the mailbag…

Hi Matt,

Thanks for your excellent reporting. Just wanted to flag some consolidation in the outdoor rec media space. This week, Pocket Outdoor Media acquired Outside Magazine, Gaia GPS, Peloton Magazine (unrelated to that Peloton) and athleteReg. This was reported in SNEWS, an industry trade publication which, along with Backpacker Magazine and 30 other "active living" brands, Pocket Outdoor Media already owns. It's not news that the journalism industry has dealt with major consolidation over the past decade-plus, but this is an unprecedented monopoly in this niche. Pocket has already announced that it's rebranding itself as Outside, and that it plans on becoming the "Amazon Prime of the active lifestyle." Now it can have the monopoly, too: magazines Powder, Surfer, Bike and Snowboarder were shuttered in December, and staff from there have already been pulled into this new media empire. What's especially concerning to me, a long-distance hiker, is that Gaia GPS, an incredibly helpful tool in its own right, could become exclusive to this company, making it harder and less convenient for athletes like me to safely get outside without subscribing to the whole platform.

Anyway, keep on keeping on, and thanks again,

Mandy

The CEO of Outside is a former Under Armour executive. Under Armour, to put it nicely, has a culture that is not known for its kindness…

UPDATE: Outside just bought up biking portal Pinkbike, news site CyclingTips and GPS trail database Trailforks.