Market Analysis Summary
Write Bike has identified two main target customer segments for submission of articles. The two market segments are each fairly large: printed magazines and online cycling specific websites.
Both monthly and bi-monthly magazines have a need for article content to supplement that produced by the staff writers. Some of the publications have a large staff of writers and only use a small percentage of articles from outside writers, other companies rely heavily on outside, freelance writers.
Many websites are maintained by bicycling enthusiasts and so rely almost exclusively on freelance articles.
4.1 Market Segmentation
Write Bike has segmented the target market into two broad categories, print and online magazines.
These magazines are typically city or state based journals. Sometimes they use glossy paper in magazine format, more often than not, as a function of the smaller readership levels, the regional printed magazines use inexpensive newsprint. The regional ‘zines typically use a higher percentage of freelance writers. This is easily explained by the fact that the regional ‘zines have smaller budgets and consequently must maintain lower overhead, using freelance writers. The freelance writers both submit articles unsolicited as well as by request of the publication. Examples include:
- Oregon Cycling
- Boston Biking
- Seattle Cycling
These magazines are almost exclusively printed on glossy paper, magazine formatted and bound, have national circulation readership levels, and have a staff of writers. However, they also contract freelance writers for specific pieces or they accept speculative pieces. Generally the freelance work is on requested topics. Examples include:
- Mountain Bike
- Mountain Bike Action
- Velo News
- Dirt Rag
With the recent explosion of popularity and use rates of the Internet, there have been a number of different websites that offer bicycle specific content. The advantages of the online sites is their ability to have far more current content as well as a much larger geographic coverage. Some of the sites offer paid content, however, the majority of them offer free content with the bulk of their revenue coming from advertisers on the site. Some of the online sites are extensions of a printed magazine, others are solely Internet based. Examples include:
- Cycling News
- MTB Review
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4.2 Target Market Segment Strategy
Write Bike has chosen to to target both printed and online magazines. These target customers have been chosen because of their need for articles. While some of the magazines have less of a demand for freelance writers, all magazines at some level require freelance writers. Freelance writers are an effective means for managing money, a scarce resource for magazines. Freelance writers present a level of flexibility that most staff writers, as a function of the business organization, cannot meet. Additionally, the demand for articles occurs somewhat regularly, generally at monthly or bi-monthly intervals.
The advent of online magazines and email provides a new and exciting market for articles by eliminating geographic limitations. In the past the writers would often have to be located near the publishing headquarters. Now with the Internet and email, a writer can be based in Bali and be producing work for a magazine in New York.
4.3 Service Business Analysis
The bicycle magazine/publishing industry is a large and geographically dispersed industry. There are publications through out the U.S., however, there is general concentration in the larger metropolitan areas. In the United States, there are 24 million unique readers of cycling specific publications. The industry generates $428 million in revenue annually. The printed side has stagnated a bit with the growing popularity of the Internet. Consequently, the Internet-based cycling sites have grown at encouraging rates. The bicycling magazine industry is a source of information for many different people. Other sources of information are local bicycle shops as well as clubs and local and national associations.
4.3.1 Competition and Buying Patterns
The competition takes the form of staff writers as well as other freelance writers.
- Staff writers: Staff writers are a form of direct competition because ultimately it is the editor’s choice as to whether to use a staff writer or a freelancer. The editors make decisions on who to use based on numerous variables such as: price, availability, time frame for article production, quality of writing, and the chosen business model that determines the ratio of staff writers to freelance writers.
- Freelance writers: There are other freelance writers, some of whom are specific to the cycling industry, and many others who are information generalists. As mentioned above, they can be distinguished by price, availability, production speed, quality, and area of expertise.