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Pocket Outdoor Media acquires Rock and Ice, Trail Runner, and Gym Climber

Published October 9, 2020

BOULDER, Colo. (BRAIN) — Pocket Outdoor Media — the owner of BRAIN, VeloNews, Triathlete, VeloPress, VeloSwap, and Rol Massif in the cycling world — is expanding its portfolio to acquire Rock and Ice, Trail Runner, and Gym Climber magazines, all formerly produced by Big Stone Publishing, also headquartered in Colorado.

In June, POM announced that it had purchased more than 20 media titles from Active Interest Media. Those titles include Climbing and Backpacker magazines. The new acquisition puts longtime rivals Rock & Ice and Climbing, along with Gym Climber, under one roof for the first time and comes as rock climbing will become an Olympic sport for the first time at the Tokyo Games next year.

Trail Runner also complements POM's current running titles, Women's Running and Podium Runner.

"It's our goal to create the best products in these categories and improve the consumer experience, period," Pocket CEO Robin Thurston told SNEWS this week. "We don't want to be average here. We need to be great. To do that, we need scale. This acquisition will help achieve that."

Thurston noted that the news comes on the same week that BikeSurferSnowboarder, 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, ecommerce, and events."

For Pocket, that new model is Active Pass, the company's subscription membership program that includes benefits like event registrations, training plans, 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."

Thurston confirmed that everyone from Rock and Ice, Trail Runner, and Gym Climber will receive an offer to join Pocket.

"This is a very exciting day, because it allows us to keep building on our core mission, which is the authenticity of our brands and the quality of our content," Thurston said. "At the end of the day, it's the quality of our products that will differentiate us. Everything else is built on that."

More on the acquisition on SNEWS.

Topics associated with this article: Mergers & Acquisitions, Media/Publishing, BRAIN News

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