Frank Ledwell, Publisher of OutdoorX4 magazine, was thrown when The Enthusiast Network (TEN) recently announced they’d be eliminating almost all their print magazines. And he wants to make one thing perfectly clear with his own audience.
“Since the announcement, I’ve read scores of comments from industry peers and consumers, in an effort to understand not only what people think led to the downfall of this company but also where they feel this market is headed,” Ledwell writes. “These opinions, your opinions, will have a significant effect on how OutdoorX4 will embrace the future.”
Will that future include print? It seems that’s a burning question for a lot of brands lately, but Ledwell feels we all need “high quality, printed media that immerses an audience in a tactile experience that separates them from the digital world. Niche media continues to outperform at the newsstand and OutdoorX4 is part of that experience.”
OutdoorX4 in print makes perfect sense; the world of 4×4 ownership is one of hands-on, rugged, often off-the-beaten-path experiences. There’s no staring down at your phone when you’re out there, and it stands to reason this audience would crave a more tangible experience to consume stories about their passion.
At the same time, Ledwell recognizes the need for a multi-channel approach and reached out to his readers for input on what the magazine looks like going forward.
“I don’t believe that print is dead,” Ledwell writes. “I believe that like us, it is evolving. I feel it is a worthwhile endeavor to engage younger adventurists, to encourage those whose dream is to inhale the fresh mountain air while overlooking a distant valley or to witness a desert sunset, hearing the coyotes howl in the distance instead of sitting perched on a city bench, faces aglow with the light of an image on a screen the size of their palm.
“We could all use a break from our devices,” he continues. “Print delivers this. It requires no connectivity, only an old-fashioned paper magazine. OutdoorX4 is committed to ensuring this experience will always be available to those who will venture beyond the range of a cell phone.”
We applaud this vision and expect their readers will too.