/ NEWS: Climb Magazine ceases Print and goes Digital

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UKC News - on 09 Aug 2017
The publishers Greenshires Group have announced that the current printed version of Climb Magazine will cease production as of next month, in a letter distributed to contributors and subscribers. The magazine will continue as a free online production, available worldwide from October this year.

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planetmarshall on 09 Aug 2017
In reply to UKC News:

I think that's sad, but not altogether unsurprising. You really have to have a strong niche to succeed in printed media (think Private Eye or, perhaps more appropriately, Alpinist) and I think content similar to Climb is too easily available freely online - here on UKC for one.
mattrm - on 09 Aug 2017
In reply to planetmarshall:

It's a pity, as it's far superior to the other magazine (Climber). I do wonder if there's a market for a high quality quarterly (ala journal) kind of magazine. The Climb team would do a good job on that.
planetmarshall on 09 Aug 2017
In reply to mattrm:

> I do wonder if there's a market for a high quality quarterly (ala journal) kind of magazine. The Climb team would do a good job on that.

Like Alpinist?

Michael Hood - on 09 Aug 2017
In reply to UKC News:

I predict that the last paper edition will sell out very quickly.
greg_may_ - on 09 Aug 2017
In reply to UKC News:

Such a shame.
Kevster - on 09 Aug 2017
In reply to UKC News:

I don't read emagazines, but do paper ones.
Life is changing, and I'm not sure I like it so much. I think I'm getting old.....
Michael Gordon - on 09 Aug 2017
In reply to UKC News:

A free online in depth look at the various strands and stories of climbing/mountaineering sounds good to me.

Hopefully the reduced competition will be good for the longevity of Climber, which after all will always have to try and up its game against online media.
mattrm - on 09 Aug 2017
In reply to planetmarshall:
> Like Alpinist?

Basically yes. Or one of the mountaineering focused journals.

Loving the two (hopefully more) dislikes. Seriously, who likes Climber? Are you all mad? It'll follow, now it's on 6 issues a year.
Post edited at 19:04
andyjohnson0 - on 09 Aug 2017
In reply to mattrm:

> Seriously, who likes Climber?

Seriously, whats wrong with Climber? I still have a subscription, so I'd like to know what I'm missing...
deacondeacon - on 09 Aug 2017
In reply to andyjohnson0:

> Seriously, whats wrong with Climber? I still have a subscription, so I'd like to know what I'm missing...
The newest issue has Horseshoe Quarry as the front cover! About as uninspiring as it can get.
I also subscribe (it was a Christmas present) but if I'm honest I only give it a five minute read.

andyjohnson0 - on 09 Aug 2017
In reply to deacondeacon:

Fair enough. Personally, coverage of everyday, real crags was why I subscribed.
David Coley - on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to UKC News:

This is interesting, in that, on Radio 4 this morning there was a piece on just how well some paper-based titles were doing. Vogue has apparently had its best sales in its history despite the threat of digital and numerous profitable glossies have been launched. One reason for the growth stated was the advertising and image that can be presented in print being much higher, and therefore more seductive. Another was that people were more willing to read longer articles in print than one screen.

Conclusion? We climbers are a bunch of illiterate, not-high end, highly price conscious, bunch of mean bastards with no dress sense, and a short attention span.

Fergal - on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to David Coley:
The difference being climbing magazine content has got worse not better, just look at the demise of the American mags, Rock and ice and Climbing, they have become little more than how to manuals for novices, British mags are no better, Climb is basicaly an edited news feed with old news at that. Climber is in it's death throws, there just doesn't seem to be any good writing at a grass roots level anymore, maybe because there just isn't any money in it, the british mags pay very little, climbers in general have become more "professional" so are less willing to put pen to paper for nada.
Post edited at 09:52
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pebbles - on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to Fergal:

Bit harsh. I'v read some really good online content in Rock and Ice....also some very nice articles in Climb. Sadly agree about climber, found it had become very repetitive, and lacked the high quality photography of Climb that for me made it still a worthwhile and inspiring buy.
bouldery bits - on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to UKC News:

Look what happened to dead point mag.

Goes both ways folks.
rockcat - on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to UKC News:
Its bad news. Climb was a quality publication. There is no substitute for the printed word for many reasons and do we really need yet another opportunity to stare at a screen? I won't be bothering.
Post edited at 12:30
Ramon Marin - on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to UKC News:
I think it's sad because I like print, but having said that, I stopped buying Climb a while back as I couldn't justify the price. But I think this is a great opportunity for change, which should be good in my opinion. There's an opportunity for an editorially-led digital format publication with quality content, long-form articles and commissioned pieces. However much of an overlap with UKC there'll be, at the moment that format doesn't exist and I can see how it could be commercially viable and succesfull. If they can secure a solid revenue stream from advertisers and can afford commissioning proper photography and writers it could be a superior product than before. But like always, it will take vision and a lot of hard graft, which I'm sure Ian can pull it off.
Post edited at 12:39
andyjohnson0 - on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to planetmarshall:
Another problem is magazine retailers. The domenant retainer, WH Smith, demand increasingly large up-front payments from publishers to even display magazines on their shelves. For niche titles without stable subscription bases (basically, everyone) this can be unaffordable.

(Also, who actually chooses to go into a WHSmith nowadays? Their shops are about as attractive as Woolworths circa 2003.)
Post edited at 12:51
Oceanrower - on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to andyjohnson0:

> The domenant retainer, WH Smith,

> (Also, who actually chooses to go into a WHSmith nowadays? Their shops are about as attractive as Woolworths circa 2003.)

Surely these two statements can't both be true.
Martin McKenna - UKC - on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to Oceanrower:

> Surely these two statements can't both be true.

Maybe the problem is that both statements are possibly true!


Toerag - on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to Martin McKenna - UKC:

> Maybe the problem is that both statements are possibly true!

The problem is that there simply isn't any other option in many places - they've monopolised the high street where most people shop.
andyjohnson0 - on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to Oceanrower:
> Surely these two statements can't both be true.

Yes they can. Because inertia.

(Edit: Just noticed that I completely failed to spell "dominant retailer". Damn.)
Post edited at 15:54
mattrm - on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to andyjohnson0:

> Seriously, whats wrong with Climber? I still have a subscription, so I'd like to know what I'm missing...

It's not as bad as I'm making out. However I agree with what Pebbles and Deacondeacon say. The photography isn't as good. The articles are a bit dull. It's often very much a 'Here's 5 Must Do Routes at Stanage' vibe to it. I much prefer the interesting articles in Climb, while I'll probably never climb at some of the odd places they go to, it's much more interesting than reading about another mainstream UK venue. However Andy, if that's what you like, then that's great as well.

I'd give climber another year or two on it's current 6 month schedule, before it goes the same way. It's sad I guess, but the world has changed and while a tablet isn't quite the same, I think it's better for magazine still information. I still like proper books.

I still think there's scope for a high quality (alpinist esque) journal 'magazine' in the UK. Probably only quarterly. I wonder if Ian Parnell is reading this? Hint, hint!

As a side note, only 3 dislikes? C'mon UKC, you can do better!
RX-78 on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to UKC News:

sad, I just started buying it about a year or two ago, I like the paper version of things, so no kindle or similar device for me. How can you get 3 or more magazines for tractors or trains but so few for climbing?!

Also interesting to see how the cycle magazine landscape is going, years ago there were about 4 magazines (procycling, cycle sport, cycling weekly and cycling plus, each with their own areas, procycling and cyclepsort the pro scene, cycling weekly the UK racing scene and cycling plus for non racers) now there are loads, plus 'booklet' type high priced magazines. I am surprised the growing climbing scene (even if indoors) can't support a few good magazines or that indoor climbers aren't interested in the stuff going on outdoors?
Brendan - on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to Ramon Marin:

There's a crisis in the print industry in general. Print advertising has plummeted but 80% of new digital advertising is going to Facebook and Google (because they basically record every single thing you do online, they can provide advertisers with a very targeted audience).

Going digital-only takes away the cost of printing but if the advertising revenue isn't there, budgets are slashed and quality quickly suffers. Just look at the Independent since it went fully online.

I'm surprised the Climb app is free, surely that can't last? I really like the magazine and I'm sad to see it go.
Ian Parnell - on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to Brendan:

Hi Brendan, in terms of the new free digital Climb format I can guarantee as editor that the quality of the content won't go down. One of the things we are committed to is paying the same rates to our contributors as we have done with the paper mag. It's something that doesn't regularly get done by other climbing internet publishing platforms - and is a massive problem I believe. It's obviously a risk as we need to get enough advertising to cover that, but we hope the outdoor industry is willing to invest in quality and good practice. In terms of targeted marketing I can again guarantee that we are much more targeted at real outdoor enthusiasts than Google whatever their claims. It's worth noting that I think it was Proctor and Gamble have polled all their social media ads because of the BS and fraud they felt they were getting. Of course our approach might not work but we'd rather fold than decrease quality.
Doug on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to mattrm:

> I still think there's scope for a high quality (alpinist esque) journal 'magazine' in the UK. Probably only quarterly. I wonder if Ian Parnell is reading this? Hint, hint!

I'm old enough to remember Mountain & Ascent, the later being more like a book than a magazine. Other than Alpinist there is nothing in English even remotely similar. But its not just the UK - I now rarely buy any of the French magazines although I regularly flick through them at the newsagents, Vertical seems the best. There was a French journal similar to Ascent launched a few years (Altitudes) which was supposed to be yearly but it folded after 3 issues, I suspect due to finacial problems although distribution may have been involved as it was difficult to find.

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David Coley - on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to UKC News:

There does seem to be something different about climbers, or at least when they have their climbing head on. We just don't like spending money. My climbing text book sells for around 6 quid on Kindle. Sales in the UK are extremely low. The (free) website which supports the book is very popular. Assuming one is likely to learn at least a couple of things from just about any book, I would have thought 6 quid would not have put people off; but it seems I was wrong
john arran - on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to David Coley:

Maybe you should sell it for £16, then people might presume it must be really good to be worth that much! ;-)
planetmarshall on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to David Coley:

For what it's worth I thought yours and Andy's book was worth its weight in gold, and I hope my purchase managed to buy you a pint.

I'd echo what John says - there's the old 'Expensive equals Good' rule in marketing, that people get suspicious if certain goods, especially luxury or premium goods, are priced too low. Not sure that this has ever been tried with books though, at least ones that aren't collectors items.
Brendan - on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to Ian Parnell:

Hi Ian,
That's really admirable that you're planning to maintain your rates for contributors. Definitely not the case everywhere, unfortunately.
I was speaking as a disillusioned contributor to the newspaper industry - I agree that you will be able to give advertisers a far more accurate picture of your readership than newspapers manage. And hopefully more advertisers will follow Proctor and Gamble's lead!
I really hope it works out, you and Dave have done a great job with the magazine. All the best.
thejunglist on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to UKC News:

i gathered a load of old on the edge and climb mags when they were going to be thrown out from one of the walls i work at... something special about them that can't be replicated via digital media in my opinion.
Scotch Bingington - on 11 Aug 2017
In reply to thejunglist:
> i gathered a load of old on the edge and climb mags when they were going to be thrown out from one of the walls i work at... something special about them that can't be replicated via digital media in my opinion.

Having been a keen devotee of OTE in the 90s I almost did the same a while back. Then I spent a bit of time reading through a few of them. Blimey - what poorly written puerile clap trap. Amazed I enjoyed them at the time - I can only see six formers enjoying them really - and I was no six former by then.

I gave up on UK climbing mags years ago - turgid and boring as they are. The occasional article can be exceptional (one by Leo Holding on his route at Yosemite was fantastic) but so infrequent to not really make buying then worthwhile on a regular basis. Now have a Rock and Ice (digital subs - why on earth do people want to continue to lay waste to the planet with paper publications?) which has some brilliant writing in it. And Niall Grimes.
Post edited at 04:34
Ramon Marin - on 11 Aug 2017
In reply to Brendan:

And that's exactly why it can succeed, by creating a platform where advertisers feel their money spent is more targeted. And I don't believe print is dead, you just need to do things differently and offer something people really want. I've been involved in the launch of two global magazines in the last 10 years and both have done really well and growing. 2017 saw more new titles launched in a year than any other year in the previous 2 decades. Titles like Monocle, Kinfolk, sidetracked, Port and Avaunt are doing so well. In the case of Climb it's just too small of a reader base to justify print, and going digital and have a lot more access to readership (because it will be free) might be actually a really good thing.
drysori - on 11 Aug 2017
In reply to David Coley:

> Another was that people were more willing to read longer articles in print than one screen.

From media types I've spoken to about this it seems a commonly held belief that people don't want to read long form online. However, several outlets who basically only publish long form articles get significant readership, so it's not a universal thing. I think there's a difference depending on the type of content you're offering. Really well written articles, or articles with a readership who will want to delve deeper will still get read. Quite a bit of longform online is still just something which would have been edited into a shorter, punchier piece on the page, but has been left with the waffle because there's no word limit online.
planetmarshall on 11 Aug 2017
In reply to drysori:

> Quite a bit of longform online is still just something which would have been edited into a shorter, punchier piece on the page, but has been left with the waffle because there's no word limit online.

I think this is definitely a problem. Physical limitations on what will actually fit on a page is a useful check on excessive 'creativity'. There's a parallel in the film industry when long CGI sequences first started to appear. There were no longer physical limits on what you could do with a camera, or digital actors, and as a result people went a bit crazy and the films suffered (Think basically the entirety of The Phantom Menace).

David Coley - on 11 Aug 2017
In reply to Ramon Marin:

> ..... In the case of Climb it's just too small of a reader base to justify print, ......

This is the bit that interests me. I would have thought the base is reasonably large compared to some topics that have one or more mags. Is the problem that the base just doesn't want to read about climbing, or doesn't want to spend the money?

It seems that it must be one of these. Which one then defines whether a free on-line version would be worth it. Out of interest, how popular are the UK digital features compared to the normal short articles?
Misha - on 11 Aug 2017
In reply to David Coley:
Climbers are generally tight, while UKC articles have been getting better and more numerous. This pincer effect has been squeezing the number of subscribers for Climb and Climber. At the same time, the content in Climber has been mediocre a lot of the time (Climb has been better).

Hopefully the online Climb will get enough page visits to support the required advertising income. Don't know how many page visits will be required for that but suspect it will be more than the readership of the print version.

I suspect Climber will go the same way soon or disappear altogether.
David Coley - on 11 Aug 2017
In reply to Misha:

> Climbers are generally tight,

Agreed. But I wonder why? Is it us, or just when we are in climbing mood. Many climbers ski/board which is not cheap in resort, but will bivvy outside a hut in summer.
Bulls Crack - on 11 Aug 2017
In reply to Kevster:

> I don't read emagazines, but do paper ones.

> Life is changing, and I'm not sure I like it so much. I think I'm getting old.....

I'm getting old and I don't read paper climbing magazines but will consider the e version!
planetmarshall on 12 Aug 2017
In reply to David Coley:

> Agreed. But I wonder why?

They are and they aren't, they're just a bit inconsistent about what they'll spend money on. Some have vans or SUVs that cost a small fortune, but they'll park them on a verge to avoid paying £4 in parking. They have double racks of Camelots and multiple pairs of £100 shoes but whine about the cost of a guidebook.

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David Coley - on 12 Aug 2017
In reply to planetmarshall:

> They are and they aren't, they're just a bit inconsistent about what they'll spend money on. Some have vans or SUVs that cost a small fortune, but they'll park them on a verge to avoid paying £4 in parking. They have double racks of Camelots and multiple pairs of £100 shoes but whine about the cost of a guidebook.

All true, and the not willing to pay bit clearly extends to written material and paying for coaching. My question is why?

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