In a world where print media’s impact and page counts are shrinking, it doesn’t seem like the most logical thing for The Berrics, one of skateboarding’s most trafficked websites to purchase one. Or is it?
In a classic buy low move, The Berrics now has acquired some portion of The Skateboard Mag. The news broke via a few Instagram posts and this quote from TSM’s co-owner J. Grant Brittain, “We started a new endeavor, The Skateboard Mag is under The Berrics skateboarding umbrella.”
It’s speculated that The Skateboard Mag in print will indeed stay intact, and their website will continue, but instead of just churning out the news, they will be focusing on creating high quality original TSM content.
But there’s more to this than TSM simply shifting over to The Berrics, as the new collaboration potentially opens up a ton of revenue streams for both parties. This acquisition gives The Berrics a valuable digital asset which can help them better allocate their content to either site, and gives them a print outlet, with minimal risk. Having access to a skilled staff of photographers, filmers, and writers from The Skateboard Mag to beef up their already deep staff is huge too. Huge in terms of amplification and opportunity, as The Berrics now has much more to offer brands than just banner ads and video on their already massive site—they now own a print outlet and a secondary website. By buying into a print—a industry on assisted breathing—they can actually make a shit load of cash.
This isn’t just about the Berrics starting, owning, or influencing a magazine, it’s about filling in the holes in their overall content plan. Print exists, so they might as well have a presence, even if it only appeals to a niche audience. After all, if we’ve learned anything from 2014, niche audiences are the new mass market. The Skateboard Mag has always been a bit unconventional and carved out their own voice, so will this new influx of money change what appears on the actual pages of the mag?
Are we going to see really extensive “Battle Commander” profiles/interviews in the magazine now, or will it just have more pages due to more ad revenue? You also have to wonder if Berra’s often polarizing opinions on the skate industry will spill over into the content. Berra’s not shy, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see his views influence TSM—he’s not just going to float money to something and sit back.
Don’t forget, he once called bullshit on the voting behind Thrasher’s SOTY award. Despite not being a public park, The Berrics model is interactive, with a lot of the content coming from the audience via social comments, emails, texts, or even their bodies as with Pros Vs. Joes contest. It won’t be a shocker if they leverage TSM to create a truly reader / viewer selected Skater of The Year and take a little jab at Thrasher in the process.
This also puts the heat on Transworld, as they’re now competing in the same space and only have their business coverage angle and heritage to set them apart. If this new partnership works, it could actually hurt TWS by taking away some ad dollars or at least make them think about aligning themselves differently.
As someone whose career began in print, it’s nice to see another mag stay alive and keep people working, rather than using their skills to sell shit they don’t care about. Print as we knew it is dead, but it’s not totally going away because it has value because you can put an ad on it. It’s another place to deliver a message from a brand. With their already massive website and now the addition of a print outlet, secondary website and access to The Skateboard Mag staff, The Berrics are positioned to be even bigger players in the skate world than most realize.