Field & Stream and Outdoor Life, two celebrated centenarian magazines that migrated to a digital format in the last two years, produced “unprecedented” audience growth in 2021, according to parent company Recurrent Ventures.
The users of the 127-year-old Field & Stream are up 70% year-over-year, while 124-year-old Outdoor Life’s increased by 65%, Recurrent reported. The growth came in both users and pageviews. Field & Stream hit an all-time web traffic high in October, with more than 5.2 million users, and Outdoor Life achieved the same thing in November, with 4.1 million users.
On a month-to-month basis, both brands have continued to beat prior-month benchmarks.
Recurrent attributed the growth to a new editorial approach, mixing news with gear, conservation and feature coverage. The two brands combined have added eight staff members, with four more planned for early 2022, Recurrent said. Recurrent, backed by the private-equity firm North Equity, acquired Field & Stream and Outdoor Life from Bonnier Corporation in October 2020.
The unprecedented growth comes about a year after North Equity and its digital-media company, Recurrent Ventures, acquired the leading outdoor brands.
“In the 13 years I’ve worked at F&S, we’ve never had a year with as much growth and innovation as this one,” Field & Stream editor-in-chief Colin Kearns said. “To see readers respond with such enthusiasm — and in such numbers — is really rewarding and validating.”
Outdoor Life editor-in-chief Alex Robinson said the brand is just getting started.
“The new staff members have brought a ton of energy and creativity to the team,” he said. “We're expanding our coverage to include new content categories, evolving our podcast, and spinning up new, themed newsletters. We're still the same Outdoor Life your grandpa used to read, and we always will be. But now we're better positioned than ever to dominate outdoor digital media.”
Both brands evolved their ecommerce strategies in 2021, specifically including editors and expert contributors in reviews and gear tests covering the high-quality hunting, shooting and fishing products. The result was fourth-quarter revenue growth of 65% year-over-year, with the new monies coming from marquee outdoor retail partners, Recurrent said.
Recurrent was initially founded in late 2018 with the acquisition of The Drive. Since then, the company’s portfolio has grown rapidly, with 20 digital media brands across automotive, home, lifestyle, military, outdoor, science and tech verticals. Marquee brands include Popular Science, The Drive, BobVila.com, and Saveur, in addition to Outdoor Life and Field & Stream.