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Motorsport Network to close Autosport weekly magazine publication


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#201 Imperial

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Posted 11 October 2019 - 07:08

You don't love your refrigerator


I spent 8 years running a hairdryer up the vents on the inside of my fridge-freezer, once a month, to quickly defrost the ice-clogged vents which were supposed to feed cool air from the freezer to the fridge above. A stupid design it turns out.

I finally replaced it around this time last year. I can safely say, I DO love my refrigerator!

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#202 Knowlesy

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Posted 11 October 2019 - 07:30

People have long predicted the demise of motorsport, but we may indeed be on that downslope. I suspect if you check the page area of advertisements in your older Autosports, then compared it to that of the last ~ten years, you'd see a significant drop. It used to be those paid ads that really covered the cost of magazine production, now with a smaller "hard core" audience and a smaller base of advertising companies, there's bound to be a increase in the cover cost. There has to, or it must die - that's sustainable (or unsustainable) commerce.

So we have aging fans (at 61, I'm not the oldest here), a shrinking advertising base, and costs that inevitably go up each year. And worst for the sport, young people are turning away from racing, due to cost, political/cultural/ecological impacts, and perhaps worst of all - the car is either dead or dying as a mode of transport to the youngsters. And by car, I mean the vehicle as a "living" thing, a partner in your freedom and lifestyle. It just isn't that anymore, and autonomous vehicles (so not needing any engagement) are the apex of that - transport as a white box, an appliance.

You don't love your refrigerator (well, you shouldn't). But we used to love our cars, and how many youngsters will say that now?

Youngsters are still as obsessed with cars as my generation was tbf and still get them for the same reasons.

And there are no less youngsters at race meetings than there ever was either imo.

Autosport is dying because print is dying and they offer nothing that makes it worthwhile.

There really needs to be another type of motorsport publication. Something like The Athletic (online) or The Blizzard (quarterly print publication) with really interesting long reads on historic and contemporary, legendary and obscure motorsport topics. Something special that you need to pay for. Weekly mags are a waste of time for most things these days.

Edited by Knowlesy, 11 October 2019 - 07:31.


#203 Sterzo

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Posted 11 October 2019 - 10:45

People have long predicted the demise of motorsport, but we may indeed be on that downslope...

Your post is a pretty good summary. The days of high-circulation magazines are ending, the musical petrol-powered car is doomed, and the upsurge in TV-centred F1 fans is (probably) on the downturn.

 

There's an inkling of hope, though. Motor racing can survive, just on a much smaller scale - as it once did. The internet makes publication much cheaper and easier. Even a small circulation print magazine is more practical now than when Autosport started. Then, the letterpress process involved huge set up costs, and the number of magazines in WH Smiths was far smaller than it is today. I regularly receive four (different) free printed mags through my letterbox, all specific to the London suburb I live in. Race reporting costs are still high, but maybe that will change too.

 

I tend to see the problem not so much as "it will all end" as "we must make fundamental changes to survive - how do we do it?"

 

But yes, it looks like we'll be making those changes without a paper Autosport. Farewell to the ads for dry sump sytems and fire extinguisher refills.



#204 absinthedude

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Posted 11 October 2019 - 11:19

It all went downhill when Catchpole retired....

 

When i look back at what I most liked about Autosport, it was partly the fact that the depth of coverage of lesser events such as club races and hillclimbs was so good...it generated enthusiasm...and one could follow the career of someone like Jenson Button through those pages. Yes, there was Roebuck and the great F1 coverage....which gave way to more vacuous articles in later years. I just found there was less and less that I wanted to read. 

 

Since the Motorsport takeover, the autosport website has reinvented itself several times which suggests that the owners don't really know what to do with it or how to make it work. 



#205 Fiorentina 1

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Posted 11 October 2019 - 14:50

I'm interested in how the paddock in Suzuka feels about the autosport (motorsport group) fiasco? 



#206 midgrid

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Posted 11 October 2019 - 15:07

Have you had a letter from them looking for an increase in your sub? I've not, but I only have the digital edition.

 

I didn't receive a letter with my print subscription copy this week, and my online subscription account shows that the next planned direct debit is unchanged - but I'm keeping an eye on it!



#207 milestone 11

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Posted 11 October 2019 - 15:34

I didn't receive a letter with my print subscription copy this week, and my online subscription account shows that the next planned direct debit is unchanged - but I'm keeping an eye on it!

My direct debit went through in August. Had a look at the media site, they only appear to have two options, an all inclusive bundle, print, digital, plus at £44 a month or just plus at £5 a month. What I have seems to be unavailable, digital mag and plus. Oh well I don't have to worry to much about it for 10 months and the mag, digital or otherwise, will likely be dead by then.

#208 ceesvdelst

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Posted 11 October 2019 - 16:00

It is nothing to do with print dying.

 

It has dropped off yes, but celeb mags, real life mags still sell by the bucket load. Angling times etc used to be huge sellers too. 

And things like Private Eye, the Economist, National Geo still are very popular. And even in cars, some genres are well catered for like classic cars, road cars and special interest, so the interest in cars is there, just not an interest in weekly news and results. Amazed it lasted this long. 

 

It is simply that there is no market now for a weekly racing news mag or paper, the content is always and readily available, results, pictures hours after the event.

 

They are all without a real purpose now, and really if you were buying them still it was likely habitual, like not wanting to miss anything.



#209 midgrid

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Posted 11 October 2019 - 16:39

My direct debit went through in August. Had a look at the media site, they only appear to have two options, an all inclusive bundle, print, digital, plus at £44 a month or just plus at £5 a month. What I have seems to be unavailable, digital mag and plus. Oh well I don't have to worry to much about it for 10 months and the mag, digital or otherwise, will likely be dead by then.

 

Since my previous post I have received an e-mail warning me that the price of the next subscription payment will go up, but I will be notified in advance of specifically when this will happen.



#210 milestone 11

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 15:09

Since my previous post I have received an e-mail warning me that the price of the next subscription payment will go up, but I will be notified in advance of specifically when this will happen.

I've had nothing so far. It would be hard to justify an increase to digital product anyway considering they contracted me for 12 months just 6 weeks ago. I would accept an increase next year, but only an acceptable percentage. I certainly wouldn't be prepared to accept an increase comparable to what they've done with the paper magazine. I would imagine that they'd lose a large percentage of their subscribers were the to do so, deservedly.



#211 thequadge

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 01:12

I just read the news of the demise of Autosport. I'm shell shocked. I have been reading Autosport since 1991 getting my first copy at just 8 after my first grand prix. I have been a fan ever since and while I'll admit I haven't bought every issue, I have bought the post race issues consistently for many years and is still one of the highlights of my post gp week. I knew that the magazine wouldn't last forever but expected it to drop to fortnightly or monthly for a while and we might keep it going for a few more years. It'll be very weird to not make that trip to a newsagent on a Thursday anymore. The £10.99 thing is clearly just a way of closing it down completely as whatever the current circulation is I'm sure only 5% of readers (at most) will pay such a fee. I'm sure the last ever issue will be printed by the end of the year if not before.

 

As an old fashioned type, I will really miss the tactility of a proper Autosport magazine. Goodbye my friend. Thanks for the memories.



#212 milestone 11

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 20:55

As Mr Rencken says, "If you're wondering why". The £5m+ Exceptional administrative expenses are a sorry tale indeed.
 
Fritz-Dieter Rencken


@RacingLines



·

Oct 10


For anyone wondering why
@motorsport_net
&
@autosport
face the massive restructure announced this week, these screenshots from the latest filed accounts tell the tale. My info is pre-2017 the company had positive EBIT...full accounts: https://beta.compani.../company/103211
EGij-Fqu-Ww-AAm9u-S.jpg

 

EGij-Fqx-X0-AEp-NT5.jpg



#213 loki

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 23:33

As Mr Rencken says, "If you're wondering why". The £5m+ Exceptional administrative expenses are a sorry tale indeed.

 

I wouldn’t use Rencken as my go to guy to sort out what the financials mean just as I wouldn’t go to Saward.  I haven’t run a company that big but I’ve run a few non ma and pa size companies to have a handle on what it takes.

 

That asset chart is indeed an issue.  They have have too many like properties in the portfolio that aren’t well differentiated.  IOW, lots of the same thing.  At some point they took on some aquisitions that didn’t pan out.  That’s what the GBP 5 mil goodwill impairment is.  To know how much that will hurt we’d need to know the value the aquisitions were booked at the time they acquired them.  To me it looks like they were acquiring brands more so than content or vehicles from which to deliver that content.  I think there is money to be made in digital motorsport press but these guys a lot of the same thing anbd if they each have separate infrastructures that’s got to cost an arm and a leg.  Perhaps it was the plan to buy the brands, gut it and serve consolidated content across all the brands from a single distribution point translated to local languages with a bit of local reporting.



#214 New Britain

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Posted 14 October 2019 - 00:02

That asset chart is indeed an issue.  They have have too many like properties in the portfolio that aren’t well differentiated.  IOW, lots of the same thing.  At some point they took on some aquisitions that didn’t pan out.  That’s what the GBP 5 mil goodwill impairment is. 

Indeed. That intangibles write-down - which in the blurry image on my screen looks like £6.6m - is as much of a concern as the exceptional admin expenses of £5.1m. Both figures have the feeling of a "kitchen sink" approach: taking all attributable losses in one go, possibly including some that started out elsewhere. With negative equity as of nine months ago of £12m, and a run rate in the last, "normal" year of -£3m, I wouldn't want to be a creditor. :well:



#215 loki

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Posted 14 October 2019 - 00:17

Indeed. That intangibles write-down - which in the blurry image on my screen looks like £6.6m - is as much of a concern as the exceptional admin expenses of £5.1m. Both figures have the feeling of a "kitchen sink" approach: taking all attributable losses in one go, possibly including some that started out elsewhere. With negative equity as of nine months ago of £12m, and a run rate in the last, "normal" year of -£3m, I wouldn't want to be a creditor. :well:

The GBP 12 mil is a good point.  That’s a ton of dough compared to the revenue.  Although given the opaque nature of the funding of the parent company it could be this wasn’t a mistake.  If I may take the forum’s foil hat for a second, I didn’t read all 30 pages but do we know who the creditors are?  Balloon payment due, unknown funding and a potential big write down for a creditor? I’m going to guess these guys are a bit more savvy than ol’ Bill Storey.



#216 Fiorentina 1

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Posted 15 October 2019 - 19:23

I wonder how this will affect the show? I'm betting people will be so fed up with the Russians in charger of motor sport dot com and autosport and all the other nonsense they own, that they will not show up this year. 



#217 DogEarred

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Posted 15 October 2019 - 19:38

At my local supermarket, last Friday, there were about 8 copies of Autosport, priced at £10.99.

Today (Tuesday afternoon), there were 4 copies left.

Never realized my area had so many millionaires...

#218 johnwilliamdavies

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Posted 15 October 2019 - 19:48

At my local supermarket, last Friday, there were about 8 copies of Autosport, priced at £10.99.

Today (Tuesday afternoon), there were 4 copies left.

Never realized my area had so many millionaires...

 

or shoplifters...



#219 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 15 October 2019 - 19:55

I wouldn’t use Rencken as my go to guy to sort out what the financials mean just as I wouldn’t go to Saward.  I haven’t run a company that big but I’ve run a few non ma and pa size companies to have a handle on what it takes.

 

That asset chart is indeed an issue.  They have have too many like properties in the portfolio that aren’t well differentiated.  IOW, lots of the same thing.  At some point they took on some aquisitions that didn’t pan out.  That’s what the GBP 5 mil goodwill impairment is.  To know how much that will hurt we’d need to know the value the aquisitions were booked at the time they acquired them.  To me it looks like they were acquiring brands more so than content or vehicles from which to deliver that content.  I think there is money to be made in digital motorsport press but these guys a lot of the same thing anbd if they each have separate infrastructures that’s got to cost an arm and a leg.  Perhaps it was the plan to buy the brands, gut it and serve consolidated content across all the brands from a single distribution point translated to local languages with a bit of local reporting.

 

Right, but this is just Autosport Media UK accounts, not the Motorsport Network or Motorsport Group(which I presume is doing all the acquisitions). So where are all these weird costs coming from and what are these extra loans needed for?

 

The various bits of Haymarket they bought were perhaps separate entities that when combined in Autosport Media UK they assumed the debt, so the purchase of LAT Images(which is probably pretty valuable, at least as an archive) became an Autosport Media UK liability?



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#220 loki

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Posted 15 October 2019 - 23:43

Right, but this is just Autosport Media UK accounts, not the Motorsport Network or Motorsport Group(which I presume is doing all the acquisitions). So where are all these weird costs coming from and what are these extra loans needed for?

 

The various bits of Haymarket they bought were perhaps separate entities that when combined in Autosport Media UK they assumed the debt, so the purchase of LAT Images(which is probably pretty valuable, at least as an archive) became an Autosport Media UK liability?

 

Not the financials, but this org chart.

 

https://twitter.com/...8398080000?s=21

 

The costs for Haymarket were likely used to capitalize the business and pay existing debt.  Unless we see the details of the transaction we don’t know.



#221 onemoresolo

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Posted Yesterday, 09:57

At my local supermarket, last Friday, there were about 8 copies of Autosport, priced at £10.99.

Today (Tuesday afternoon), there were 4 copies left.

Never realized my area had so many millionaires...

 

Quite possible they bought out of habit without checking the price - nobody would assume a price jump that big. Will be interesting the see the impact in a couple of weeks once it's more widely realised..



#222 noikeee

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Posted Yesterday, 10:25

There really needs to be another type of motorsport publication. Something like The Athletic (online) or The Blizzard (quarterly print publication) with really interesting long reads on historic and contemporary, legendary and obscure motorsport topics. Something special that you need to pay for. Weekly mags are a waste of time for most things these days.

 

Now that's a good idea. I bought the Blizzard for a while a few years ago, good publication on football.

 

Then again I'm not the target audience as I don't live in the UK so dunno.



#223 Gareth

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Posted Yesterday, 11:28

Right, but this is just Autosport Media UK accounts, not the Motorsport Network or Motorsport Group(which I presume is doing all the acquisitions). So where are all these weird costs coming from and what are these extra loans needed for?

 

The various bits of Haymarket they bought were perhaps separate entities that when combined in Autosport Media UK they assumed the debt, so the purchase of LAT Images(which is probably pretty valuable, at least as an archive) became an Autosport Media UK liability?

Autosport Media UK was the company used to make the acquisitions of the Haymarket entities. It was incorporated in August 2016.

 

The full accounts can be found here.

 

Page 11 probably gives the most useful background. Note 24 is also interesting - the big £19m third party debt is now a debt owed to the parent company.



#224 cpbell

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Posted Yesterday, 12:14

Am I the only one who doesn't understand the Financial terms that have emerged in this thread recently?  :blush:


Edited by cpbell, Yesterday, 13:51.


#225 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted Yesterday, 12:36

Autosport Media UK was the company used to make the acquisitions of the Haymarket entities. It was incorporated in August 2016.

 

The full accounts can be found here.

 

Page 11 probably gives the most useful background. Note 24 is also interesting - the big £19m third party debt is now a debt owed to the parent company.

 

Ah my bad, I was assuming AMUK was just the renamed Haymarket stuff not the takeover vehicle. 



#226 DN5

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Posted Yesterday, 13:27

I've had nothing so far. It would be hard to justify an increase to digital product anyway considering they contracted me for 12 months just 6 weeks ago. I would accept an increase next year, but only an acceptable percentage. I certainly wouldn't be prepared to accept an increase comparable to what they've done with the paper magazine. I would imagine that they'd lose a large percentage of their subscribers were the to do so, deservedly.

 

I have just got back from a trip and only just seen the last issue I get as a subscriber. That is the only thing I have seen about the price change and had nothing about any change to my direct debit.

 

I agree that they want to kill the print magazine.



#227 Fiorentina 1

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Posted Yesterday, 14:22

Really, payroll of 11 million? Are you crazy? The New York times doesn't have that. Someone is using Autosport media in a dodgy fashion. 



#228 loki

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Posted Today, 07:47

Really, payroll of 11 million? Are you crazy? The New York times doesn't have that. Someone is using Autosport media in a dodgy fashion. 

Indeed the NYT doesn’t have an $11mil payroll per year.  It’s an order of magnitude greater.   It wouldn’t surprise me if the C suite compensation alone was closer to $20 mil.  There are more than 4000 working for the company with revenues of US$1.75 bil/year.  

 

AMUK could have those admin expenses considering the Haymarket acquisitions are booked to them.  Admin expenses aren’t all salaries though.  It’s possible they haven’t realized the economies of scale integrating the acquisitions into the parent.



#229 Fiorentina 1

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Posted Today, 08:13

There's massive monkey business going on that's for sure. Just look at the past businesses run by Mike Zoi, It's sad that Autosport got taken over by shady Russians.... Thanks Zak Brown for introducing them.