More paid-for titles will follow Time Out’s "freemium" model, according to the editor of the London issue of the listings title, who has also revealed that the magazine makes a profit.
Time Out, which went free in 2012 after 40 years as a paid-title, this week underwent a redesign of both its London and New York issues.
Caroline McGinn, editor of Time Out UK, said: “This autumn there have been two major launches [men’s fitness title Coach, published by Dennis and Time Inc’s NME] in the freemium market. I can see other brands doing it. I am really proud of what we have achieved in London.”
Time Out distributes an average 308,995 copies a week in London according to ABC. Its last paid-for ABC was 52,198 (including around 10,000 free copies).
Free magazine titles have become increasingly commonplace in London, with commuters able to pick up titles such as ShortList, sister-title Stylist and Sport.
McGinn believes that editing a free title is no less prestigious than editing a paid-for one. She said: “The vast majority of media brands make all of their content free online.”
Commenting on the redesign, McGinn said: “The pace with which people engage with us is really varied. People want curation. They want us to show us the good stuff more quickly.
“The new look reflects our confidence right now, and these desires of our energetic active, curious audience, who want to be surprised and delighted by the culture of the cities that most of the world now lives in.”
New features include:
- A new agony aunt/uncle page – London’s Problems – where each week a different comedian tackles the city's issues. This week’s features Shazia Mirza dealing with Londoners' filthy kitchens, leg-shaving issues and how to impress their bosses
- More hyperlocal content, reflecting the way that the city and its newest culture is happening on a hyperlocal level
- A new dedicated drinking section, focused on emerging trends and the city's best and newest bars.
McGinn said: "Our audience tells us that they’re drowning in information, much of which is manipulative clickbait, irrelevant, or junk. They trust us to help them find something genuinely excellent. That’s been Time Out’s aspiration since it was founded in London in 1968."
According to McGinn, Time Out’s London’s issue, part of the Time Group, which publishes the title around the world, does make money. But she declined to provide any further details on the finances.
Time Out describes itself as a "freemium" brand, meaning that on top of the free title it charges for products, such as events.
In December last year, Time Out cut around 40 staff at its UK and US offices.