After 34 years of publication in German, the respected road cycling publication ‘Tour das Radmagazin’ (TOUR magazine) sought to broaden its reach with an English-language iPad application, called TOUR Quarterly, in late 2011. Two editions later, it appears the plug has been pulled.
Market-leading publisher Delius Klasing Verlag launched its first road cycling journal ‘Rad’ in September 1977. An established company of 101 years, Delius Klasing (DK) today publishes multiple cycling titles including TOUR, TOUR Bike Market, BIKE, BIKE Workshop, Freeride, Trekking Bike, E-Bike, Mountain Bike Rider and All Mountain. The company’s core content channels are automotive, cycling and water sports. “Our goal is to move people” states publisher Conrad Delius on the company website. “With our media we therefore always want to create occasions to sit on a bike and explore nature, to feel the wind and waves while sailing or experiencing mobility by car in all its facets. This task is not just a job, the job is our passion.”
Rad became ‘TOUR’ in March 1979. Today, the monthly publication is widely viewed as a technocratic, no-nonsense, authority amongst elite road cycling publications – setting its most notable benchmark in bike reviews. Though other road cycling magazines supplement field-testing with extensive data collection, TOUR was arguably the pioneer. [Click on image below for video of TOUR's testing protocol video]
According to the German Audit Bureau of Circulation, (Informationsgemeinschaft zur Feststellung der Verbreitung von Werbeträgern, or IVW), TOUR’s year-on-year circulation has declined over the previous two years, which may have prompted the decision to broaden the magazine’s reach to a more globally-representative audience.
Shortly after DK released BIKE in digital format (mid-2011), the company announced more of its publications would follow suit. Sure enough, TOUR Quarterly was released as an Apple iPad application in August 2011. In the first edition, Chief Editor Thomas Musch outlined the reasons why it had taken so long for TOUR to launch in English:
How come TOUR – Europe’s largest road bike magazine – doesn’t come out in English? We’ve frequently been asked that question in the past years by racing cyclists from around the world, by designers and engineers from the bike industry, by manufacturers and importers.
To date, our answer was the effort necessary to print and distribute an international edition of the magazine in English would simply be too great; the costs would be too high. But now modern communication technology has made it possible.
Evidently, uptake has not met DK’s expectations. According to this Weight weenies thread, TOUR has canned TOUR Quarterly after two issues; apparently due to the cost of translation and poor uptake. Indeed, only one issue has been released so far this year, in spite of the content being directly sourced and translated from already-printed versions of TOUR.
Cycling iQ has yet to directly reach TOUR or its publisher for confirmation of Tour Quarterly’s early demise. If true, it appears a contributing factor may be lack of marketing to its intended consumer base; a cruel irony indeed. [Note: I would be interested to hear from anyone who has seen any advertisement, either online or in print, promoting TOUR Quarterly.]
This post will be updated as soon as official comment is received…