Business & Automotive Editors
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 25, 2000
GR8RIDE debut is enhanced by dominant print publishing expertise,
leading industry partnerships, and key executive appointments
PRIMEDIA (NYSE: PRM) Inc. today launched GR8RIDE (http://www.GR8RIDE.com), the first complete online resource for the hardcore automotive enthusiast. GR8RIDE aggregates all the necessary resources - content, commerce and community - to help automotive enthusiasts obtain the products and services they need while helping them share their passion and pride with their peers. PRIMEDIA publishes 31 automotive titles and is the leading provider of automotive information.
In conjunction with today's launch, PRIMEDIA also announced the appointment of George Vrabeck as CEO for GR8RIDE. Vrabeck was formerly the managing director of the Internet Practice Group at EMerge Corporation, a start-up investment bank where he led and developed investment strategies in the US and Europe. Sal Chiovari, newly appointed CTO, was formerly the vice president of information technology and international systems at Baxter Healthcare Corporation, where he led the information technology strategy for a $7 billion multinational organization. Both executives have great track records in developing and managing significant Internet businesses in their respective fields of expertise.
Additionally, GR8RIDE announced key partnerships with Summit Racing, NOPI, Discount Tire and AIM Industries, demonstrating broad industry interest in, and acceptance of, the GR8RIDE business concept. GR8RIDE offers consumers one-stop aggregated access to everything they need for their automotive projects. Users will have access to partner products and services directly from the GR8RIDE site, tightly integrated with the exceptional expert and user content.
"We clearly recognized a $20 billion untapped market in the enthusiast automotive aftermarket industry," said Daniel McCarthy, president and CEO of the PRIMEDIA Enthusiast Group. "We have 31 magazines which serve this enormous enthusiast population that is totally devoted to customizing their vehicles. It's a lucrative yet highly fragmented industry, with 3000 manufacturers, 1000 distributors and 4000 retailers all over the world. This is absolutely the largest and most comprehensive marketplace for specialty automotive information, community and product, and we're the best people to put it all together."
The automotive aftermarket is a large and lucrative industry. PRIMEDIA currently reaches 21 million enthusiasts through its 31 leading automotive publications and industry events. Sixty percent of these enthusiasts are already online, making them an ideal target for GR8RIDE. Since this market has been overlooked by e-commerce, GR8RIDE will be the first and best resource to address their needs.
Many indicators show this market will readily purchase online goods and services. For example, automotive enthusiasts have long depended on mail order through catalogs and newsletters to fill their specialized needs, so they are accustomed to making their purchases at places other than bricks-and-mortar stores. This amounts to about $4 billion in annual spending. GR8RIDE partners represent about 50% of that total.
In addition, the automotive supply chain is scattered throughout the world, so consumers are eager for the opportunity to find everything they need in one Web site. The wide range of products and services in this category, coupled with consumer enthusiasm, will make impulse buying much simpler. People who customize their vehicles are proud of their work and love to share advice and insights, generating a ready-made Web community.
GR8RIDE Offers Everything Necessary for Nearly Any
GR8RIDE is not simply an online version of PRIMEDIA's automotive magazines, nor is it only an online catalog of products. Instead, it provides everything the automotive enthusiast loves most - up-to-date product information, how-to advice, consumer product reviews and the ability to purchase industry leading products and services from trusted brands and retailers. In addition to valuable original content, the GR8RIDE site offers a number of features and resources for automotive enthusiasts of all experience levels and backgrounds:
- How do I rebuild the carburetor on a classic GTO? How-to tutorials take users
step-by-step through featured specialty projects.
- Which specialty paints perform the best? Product reviews arm users with the
information they need to make educated purchases.
- Where can I meet other enthusiasts and see their cars? The Events link takes
users to a calendar of the most current local, national and international auto
- How can I show everyone how I've restored my 1937 Ford? The Showroom lets
users display their vehicles and show off their best automotive projects.
- Where can I get advice on increasing the RPMs on my 65 Mustang? Online
Community Resources such as clubs, chat rooms and discussion areas allow users
to obtain valuable information from others who share common interests in the
- Does anyone have a Stutz Bearcat for sale? The Classifieds area allows users
to locate parts and autos for sale around the world.
- Who has new ideas for pinstripe designs? User generated projects give
consumers a broad base from which to generate ideas.
GR8IDE Will Succeed Because of Several Key Factors
The GR8RIDE concept is expected to meet with great success because it's supported by several key factors. First, GR8RIDE is ideally positioned to deliver quality content and product partnerships to the online enthusiast consumer because it has a long and trusted publishing heritage in this market. GR8RIDE is backed by PRIMEDIA Inc.'s 31 automotive titles, so it already understands what car enthusiasts need from an automotive specialty Web site. Unlike other online pure-play competitors, GR8RIDE is uniquely positioned to leverage the power of its related off-line publication brands and its online visibility. Integrated cross-promotional efforts are a key part of PRIMEDIA's success strategy. And the GR8RIDE site delivers expert content from trusted editors who have served the entire market - from hot rods and motorcycles to classics and antiques.
"We plan to leverage our leading print content and develop additional Internet businesses that support our brand," said McCarthy. "Everything is here for a winning site - a huge market, high margins and a completely fanatic audience."
Key Executive Appointments Round Out a Winning Team
GR8RIDE is also pleased to announce the addition of a seasoned Internet CEO and CTO to round out the company's key senior management. Tom Rogers, PRIMEDIA's Chairman and CEO, noted that "our early and continued success in the Internet space means that we are becoming more and more attractive for leading Internet talent. We're extremely pleased to see both George and Sal join the GR8RIDE team."
George Vrabeck, CEO, was the managing director of the Internet Practice Group at EMerge Corporation. "The opportunity to help transform this leading print publishing organization into a dominant Internet media brand for this powerful market was incredibly compelling and I'm looking forward to the seeing more and more GR8RIDE success," said Mr. Vrabeck. Mr. Vrabeck also held senior positions at theFlood.com, Global One Distribution & Merchandising, and Kelly Russell Studios.
Sal Chiovari, CTO, was the vice president of information technology and international systems at Baxter Healthcare Corporation. "I worked with Baxter for over 15 years and developed and oversaw a complex and scalable infrastructure that was the backbone of our business. I expect to do the same with GR8RIDE."
GR8RIDE.com is the one-stop-shop where auto enthusiasts can receive up-to-date product information, how-to advice, consumer product reviews and access to industry-leading products and services from the brands and retailers consumers trust. GR8RIDE demonstrates PRIMEDIA Inc.'s commitment to its new media vision by presenting rich media content backed by the interactivity of the Web. In addition, GR8RIDE has capitalized on the power of PRIMEDIA Inc.'s print brands and market domination to build a successful e-commerce business and better service Internet-ready niche communities.
PRIMEDIA Inc., with 1999 sales of $1.7 billion, is a targeted media company with print, video and Internet businesses focused on consumer and business-to-business audiences. Some key businesses include Seventeen, New York, Chicago, Fly Fisherman, Channel One Network and 16 other specialty satellite television and TV distribution services, Horticulture, Modern Bride, American Baby, IntelliChoice, Telephony, American Demographics and Films for the Humanities & Sciences. The Company owns and operates more than 215 Web sites and other Internet properties.