Pocket Outdoor Media Acquires Outside Magazine

Pocket Outdoor Media not only acquired Outside Integrated Media — including a magazine, a TV program, an app, and more — it’s also taking on the name.

Pocket Outdoor Media may be just 4 years old, but already the conglomerate has gobbled up some of the most influential titles in the outdoor world. And today, it takes on a new name to underscore its heavyweight status: Outside.

Pocket Outdoor Media today announced its acquisition of Outside Integrated Media, the parent company of Outside magazine, Outside Studios, and the travel business publication Outside GO. It also expands to Outside TV, a provider of outdoor lifestyle TV and video programming across cable, satellite, and over-the-top networks.

In the acquisition, Pocket Outdoor Media will also change its name, adopting the brand name of its newest member, Outside.

These acquisitions were made possible by the closing of Series B financing from investment partners that include Sequoia Heritage, JAZZ Ventures, Zone 5 Ventures, and NEXT Ventures. According to a press release, the financing and acquisition transactions “will enable the company to make significant investments in audience, technology, and product development.”

While terms of the agreement aren’t currently public, Axios today reported that Pocket Outdoor Media raised $150 million from Sequoia Heritage during a Series B funding round.

New Outdoor Media Heavyweight

While still a fledgling company, Pocket Outdoor Media (now Outside, which we will use to refer to the corporation going forward), has acquired at least 22 leading publications and apps since its inception.

The company now oversees iconic publications SKI, Yoga Journal, Women’s Running, Triathlete, Backpacker, Climbing, Clean Eating, VeloNews, Trail Runner, FinisherPix, Warren Miller Entertainment, and Outside magazine.

This week, it also picks up Gaia GPS, a mobile mapping and navigation application for backcountry adventurers and professionals, and the cycling publication Peloton magazine.

“We’re investing in Outside because the management team has warmly embraced the future of information and entertainment on the internet. Just like Netflix and Amazon Prime, Outside will create and distribute distinctive content to a worldwide audience on any connected device. Better still, Outside will turbocharge the online programming of many of the most-loved fitness and health brands,” said Michael Moritz, who will be joining the Outside board of directors. “As a longtime journalist and former ink-stained wretch, I’m now being granted the opportunity to start a new chapter — as a digital-stained wretch.”

The deals create a platform across television, mobile, desktop, and print. It currently focuses on outdoor, endurance, fitness, and wellness markets.

“This is a transformational day for our company and our customers,” said Robin Thurston, CEO of the new Outside. “Everything we do is driven by a belief that a hike, run, ride, or yoga practice can change your life, and these new brands will help us fulfill our mission to build the world’s best consumer experience across a wide range of activities.”

Thurston went on to discuss Outside’s non-media digital components.

“Gaia GPS and athleteReg significantly boost the ways we facilitate participation through best-in-class tools and services. And as a lifelong cyclist, I’m personally thrilled to welcome Peloton, one of my go-to reads for its evocative celebrations of the sport. With these moves, we can now deliver world-class content 24/7 to almost every home in America across every platform, screen, and device. My team and I are deeply honored to help write the next chapter for these iconic businesses.”

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Outside Magazine Under New Ownership

It’s hard to understate the influence Outside magazine has had on the outdoor industry. The publication, launched in 1977, helped launch the industry as we know it today. And its media empire reaches 38 million people a month across its platforms.

“When we published our first issue of Outside magazine in 1977, we helped give birth to what is now an $887 billion outdoor industry, and we’ve been pioneering the art of adventure ever since,” said Larry Burke, founder, chairman, and editor-in-chief of Outside Integrated Media.

“Our stories have won awards in print, video, and film, and we’ve inspired millions of people to ‘live bravely.’ It’s everything I could’ve wanted to do with my life, and I’m delighted to find such a good home for Outside among [Pocket Outdoor Media’s] outdoor brands.”

Burke, who won the Outdoor Industry Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019, is set to tackle his next project — a book about his life — while continuing to pursue his passion for living an active life outside.

The new businesses will continue operating out of their existing locations and will immediately begin working on a range of synergies that the company’s technology platform makes possible.

The brand notes that the acquisitions bring new benefits to the company’s Active Pass membership, a fast-growing, $99-per-year offering that gives consumers access to premium digital content, print subscriptions, event entries and photography, books, gear discounts, a personalized feed, and interactive experiences with editors, pro athletes, coaches, and other experts.

Outdoor Media Shuffle

Today’s news caps off a whirlwind of outdoor media acquisitions and rebranding. Earlier this year, GearJunkie announced it was leading the charge in a new active lifestyle portfolio called AllGear within the Lola Digital Media family.

That lineup includes publications across the outdoors, fitness, and sports, including Bikerumor, Switchback Travel, iRunFar, AutoWise, Explorers Web, and more.

Sean McCoy
By

Editorial Director Sean McCoy is a life-long outdoorsman who grew up hunting and fishing central Wisconsin forests and lakes. He joined GearJunkie after a 10-year stint as a newspaperman in the Caribbean, where he learned sailing and wooden-boat repair. Based in GearJunkie's Denver office, McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.