SBD/Issue 13/Sports Media

Former TransWorld Exec To Launch Future Action Sports Mags

Future Network USA in ’05 will launch Future Action Sports, a new group of action sports magazines including the five-times-a-year Skateboard Trade News and the quarterly Snowboard Trade News, according to Michael Shields of MEDIAPOST. The new venture will be led by former TransWorld Media Publisher & VP/Sales & Marketing Fran Richards. TransWorld publishes Skateboarding magazine and Snowboarding magazine, among others. Richards contends that “a void has opened up since” TransWorld was purchased by Time Inc. in ‘00, noting that the magazines “have become less accessible to readers, as they are staffed more and more by professional athletes rather than journalists.” Richards: “Those magazines have changed tremendously. They used to be very inclusive. Now they have gotten extremely hard core during a time when the sports have actually become mainstream.” While Richards does not expect the new titles to be profitable, he believes they “will provide ‘a critical leadership position’” in action sports (MEDIAPOST.com, 9/28). Mark Ford, CEO of Time Inc.’s Time4Media, which oversees TransWorld, “expressed disbelief at” Richards’ characterization. Ford said the previous TransWorld mentality was “about ‘this is a little club. We don’t want anyone to come into the club.’ In the end I don’t think it served the industry well. What served it well is growing the sport, not keeping people out of the sport.” AD AGE’s Jon Fine notes Richards is the third former Transworld staffer to join a start-up publication since Time’s purchase, as this year’s launches of The Skateboard Mag and Snowboard Journal were both headed by former Transworld execs (AD AGE, 9/27 issue).

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