Active Interest Media has acquired the Boulder-based SKI and Skiing magazines, Warren Miller Entertainment and Nastar from the Bonnier Mountain Group. Details of the deal were not disclosed.
The top executives of Active Interest Media, or AIM, whose 86-employee Boulder-based outdoor stable includes Backpacker and Climbing magazines, led SKI, Skiing, Warren Miller Entertainment and Nastar from 1996 to 2003.
Back then, the properties were known as Mountain Sports Media and publisher Andy Clurman moved the outfit from New York City to Boulder and grew the company by 50 percent.
Today, he's president and chief executive of AIM and he's enlisted former SKI editor Andy Bigford – who was hired as group publisher for the Bonnier Mountain Group in January – to serve as vice-president and general manager of the ski group. Allen Crolius, the former associate publisher of Mountain Sports Media is handling sales for AIM's mountain and outdoor group.
“We are getting the band back together,” said Clurman, whose AIM has five publishing groups that corral print and online magazines and events covering horse, health, marine, home and outdoor pursuits.
The AIM stable ranges from boat show management services to magazines like American Cowboy, Yoga Journal, Log Home Living and Power & Motoryacht.
The Bonnier Corp., publisher of magazines like Field & Stream and Popular Science, bought SKI, Skiing, Warren Miller Entertainment and Nastar from Time, Inc. in 2007 in a $225 million deal for 18 magazines.
Since then, the magazine world has suffered, with SKI and Skiing hardly immune from the downturn.
The Publishers Information Bureau reports that while SKI's distribution has remained steady around 450,000, print ad revenue for the first quarter of 2013 was down 36 percent from the same period in 2012, compared to 0.5 percent for all magazines in the same timeframe. SKI had more than $9 million in print ad revenue during the first quarter of 2007.
Clurman, who started AIM's outdoor group in 2007 with Backpacker magazine and 12 staff, said his outdoor staff in Boulder will add 35 employees with the acquisition. With properties deep into both housing and marine, AIM is “not unaccustomed to the hurdles and impacts” of the economic downturn, Clurman said.
“We don't claim to have a silver bullet but we definitely found ways to grow even in a challenging market,” he said.
Clurman said plans include growing the multimedia presence of the new properties, focusing on tablet presentations and mobile applications.
The venerable filmmaker Warren Miller Entertainment “was one of the attractions” of the deal, Clurman said.
“We have not really had much capability or foothold in film, television or video production and that was a big motive for us,” he said.