“Every decision and every business that we’ve decided to bring into the company essentially is about thinking about a more holistic experience for the consumer.”

– Robin Thurston

EPISODE HIGHLIGHTS:

  • You’ll hear how Outside Inc., is modernizing endemic journalism through editorial and experience acquisitions and a strong content ecosystem
  • Robin and Kristin share how Covid-19 shifted consumer behavior and how those shifts are connected to a massive influx of newcomers into the outdoor markets
  • You’ll get Robin’s take on one of the most important approaches to retain these newcomers – making it easy for them to identify and actively engage with their passions
  • Discover the long-term vision and strategy for Outside Inc., including its membership program and how the teams at Outside Inc.’s myriad of publications and brand experiences will work to “catch and keep” our outdoor recreation newcomers in 2021

EPISODE PREVIEW:

Welcome to another season of Channel Mastery! This episode featuring Robin Thurston, CEO of Outside is our inaugural episode of season four. We can’t wait to offer another season of Channel Mastey, presented by Verde Brand Communications.

Robin is the CEO of Outside, the world’s leading creator of active lifestyle content and experiences. Formerly known as Pocket Outdoor Media, Robin acquired Outside along with other companies such as OutsideTV, Gaia GPS, AthleteReg and Peloton magazine in February 2021. To say I was excited to interview him is an understatement. Through these acquisitions and a major rebranding, Robin and the Outside team have created an incredible content ecosystem that is changing the experiential and outdoor media market and single handedly modernizing journalism.

On the episode, he shares how their strong content enables them to create data that leads to personalization and ultimately converts to membership and a tailored consumer experience. We touch on the consumer behavior shifts that took place in 2020 and how Outside is focused on connecting and engaging with newcomers to the outdoor industry.

As always, thanks for listening to Channel Mastery! Subscribe today to hear new episodes first all season long!

GUEST PROFILES:

Robin Thurston

Robin Thurston is the CEO of Outside, the world’s leading creator of active lifestyle content and experiences. Formerly known as Pocket Outdoor Media, Robin acquired Outside along with other companies such as OutsideTV, Gaia GPS, AthleteReg, and Peloton Magazine in February of 2021. Outside now reaches 70 million of the most active consumers across its web, print, podcast, social, video, and TV platforms. Before joining Outside, Robin ran a consumer genetics company called Helix in Silicon Valley, and co-founded and built MapMyFitness into one of the world’s largest open fitness tracking platforms. A Colorado-native, Robin resides in Boulder with his wife and three children.

TOPICS COVERED:

Outside’s recent acquisitions, keeping Outside specialized rather than commodified, building consumer trust, restructuring the magazine/digital content mix to increase importance on both ends, creating a content and distribution mix that works for both paid and unpaid parties, subscription vs ad-based revenue and what changes behind the scenes for a magazine, diversity of those getting into mountain biking, where prospective new cyclists are coming from, data-driven customer need fulfillment, Active Pass and inclusion

SELECT QUOTES:

“While a lot of people might look at it {our vision} and go – Oh, well, you know, Robin’s just aggregating a bunch of assets and, that’s like a private equity player or something like that… – That’s not what it’s about. Every decision and every business that we’ve decided to bring into the company essentially is about thinking about a more holistic experience for the consumer.”

“In previous companies, I’ve worked for, we always talk about trying not to take things away from customers they love and try to build more things that they do.”

“Our ultimate goal is to get people more active. I honestly almost could care less about the page views and impressions of people visiting the site and things of that nature. I’m much more worried about, are we moving the needle on more people being active? And then from that, you say, okay, if you think you are starting to achieve that and inspiring people to do more activity, where do they go to buy and register and do all the things that they want to do in this category specifically?”

“There was never a hub of what I would call cycling 101. Like everything, you need to know that it’s not only going to help you pick the bike, it’s going to help you pick the accessories. It’s going to help you change the tire. It’s going to tell you where the group rides are. So one of our goals, especially for the newcomers to these categories, and there are many of them, is about creating these essentially 101 hubs…So we hope that brands and retailers will use these hubs as a way to educate people and tell them that’s how they should get this information. So we’re literally in the process right now of creating hubs around cycling, running, backpacking, climbing, skiing, all to sort of sit on these properties. And I think you’re just going to see a lot more of this of us. Cause I, I don’t think this trend of new commerce to the sport is going to change anytime soon.”

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