GCN’s Editorial Policy
To bring together a global community of riders to celebrate cycling. We’re passionate riders ourselves, making unique content for riders like you and all our content aims to achieve two things: to inform and entertain.
What We Do
Here on GCN, our content is 100% free for you to view and consume, however and whenever you want. Although it’s time consuming and costly to create, there are no subscription fees, no pay on demand, and no free trial period that then automatically starts charging your credit card if you don’t cancel. It’s just free to view. All of the time. Just browse and watch.
We have very clear principles which direct everything we do. These include:
- We’re here to create content that we think you, as part of our community of passionate cyclists, will find informative, engaging and entertaining;
- We’re not here to review products and tell you what to buy – so we don’t review kit and nor do we agree to do so in our agreements with partner brands;
- Presenters aren’t obliged to use any brand or product that they’re not happy to use;
- We do not grant others control over our scripts or what we say and, save for the purposes of checking material facts, our partners and sponsors do not see or review our scripts;
- Whilst the title or broad subject matter of certain branded content videos may be discussed with a partner, they do not direct our content or dictate what we say about a product, nor do we allow them to approve/veto content before publishing;
- We have always publicly disclosed our sponsors and, whilst our partners do not influence or exert control over our editorial content, in order to comply with the ASA's current guidance, where we create content specifically for a partner product, we will label with 'Ad' in the video thumbnail.
How We’re Different
We’re unlike every cycling magazine or website out there. For starters, we’re video first. Secondly, we make all our own content – and making great video content from scratch is expensive. But – as we believe in video as a brilliant medium to tell informative, engaging and entertaining stories from around the world of cycling we’ve put our money where our mouth is by investing in it.
In addition, we’ve a global focus, so we travel the world telling stories, crafting inspirational features, and taking you closer to the sport you love. That means a lot of travelling for our presenters and creators to create the 500+ YouTube videos we make every year.
So that’s a bundle of cash we need in order to fund our work, bringing you highly engaging content from around the world that you can watch at home or on the go, whenever you wish, for free.
Why We Don’t Do Reviews
We’re also unlike any other cycling media outlet as we don’t do reviews where we test and deliver our verdict on whether you should buy (or not) any particular bike, product or accessory. We don’t feel it’s our place to tell you what to buy: you know your own preferences and priorities better than we ever could so we leave it to you to make your own decisions. Instead, what we do is to deal in facts, report on and feature products explaining how they’re different or unique, and allow our presenters to share their knowledge with you.
In addition, we will equip you with the insights about what to look for in a given product type, such as how to choose cycling shoes, so you’re better equipped to ask the right questions when browsing or buying to make a more informed choice. Knowledge is power, as they say, and we aim to give all the power we can to you.
So how do we fund what we do? Well, through a mix of ways. Here’s how:
Although you may well see pre-roll video, banner or other adverts on our channels, we don’t actually control them (what they are, their content, or where they’re run); instead that is controlled by the platform provider (in the case of YouTube that’s Google, and on Facebook and Instagram, that’s Facebook). But we do receive some revenue from them that helps us create our content whilst keeping it free to you. So advertising is part of the mix.
Another part is sponsorship. This is where we work with brands that we like and respect, asking them to contribute to the running of the channel in return for us using their product, similar to a pro cycling team. We only use and feature products from brands that we know and respect, that we would be happy to spend our own money on.
Although we only use what we believe in, we avoid active endorsement when presenting products, and no presenter is under any pressure to use a product that they feel doesn’t match up to the high standards we set ourselves. Very simply, if we don’t think a product is good enough, or interesting enough, or cool enough, you will not see it in a GCN video. But at the end of the day that’s still an opinion – an opinion that we would like to think comes with years of riding and racing at the highest level, but a subjective one nonetheless. Accordingly, through featuring sponsored product or partner brands on GCN, we are not endorsing them over other products on the market.
So how does this work in practice? Well, we could be using a sponsor’s product but not mention it in any way during a video (for example, wearing a helmet in a video that’s focused on helping you improve your fitness or technique for climbing); in another example, we may be talking about what to look for in a cycling shoe and use a sponsor’s shoe to showcase the relevant points. In both cases, the specific products aren’t the main focus of the video.
For transparency we always list our sponsors in video descriptions and also make this clear in the videos themselves. The sponsor has absolutely no control over any part of the content – we’re just using their kit.
Other Paid Promotions (‘Advertorial’)
On occasion a partner may ask us to create a video featuring a specific product, for example a ‘first look’ at some new tech, where the product is the major focus or the subject matter of the content. We will only create content like this which we think you will find informative, entertaining and engaging but, as with sponsorships, we only feature products from brands that we know and respect and that we would be happy to spend our own money on.
To ensure we’re absolutely honest and open, we’ll always mark videos like these with ‘includes Paid Promotion’ and include `Ad` (i.e. an ‘Advertorial’) on the video thumbnail so everything’s clear and transparent.
Maintaining your trust in our content is one of our key priorities; we will always ensure that all our content is strong, credible and editorially relevant to you, our community; if it’s not, we don’t and won’t do it. Simple.