Time Out is aiming to fill the gap left by the closure of Manchester listings magazine City Life in December.
Founder and chairman of Time Out Tony Elliott said that plans to launch new local versions of the title in Manchester and Liverpool, six months after Guardian Media Group closed City Life, were partly based on the new gap in the market.
He said: “A year ago we wouldn’t have looked at Manchester because City Life was already there, but it’s also true to say that we weren’t looking at Manchester that closely. Clearly City Life is one factor, then going to Manchester having a look around and realising there’s a lot going on that is significant and realising that City Life didn’t relate to that properly.” Elliott added: “City Life wasn’t very good — I don’t know the whole story, but it lost its way and it wasn’t as sharp and as organised and reliable as it ought to be. In a nutshell, Time Out is a better and different magazine.” Time Out, which is published in 17 cities worldwide, is to extend its franchise to Manchester in February/March next year, but first needs to raise £1m because, said Elliott, “after launching in Chicago, our resources are stretched”.
Its most recent launches were Time Out Beirut and Time Out Almaty (Azerbaijan) in May this year. The Liverpool venture is partly inspired by
the city’s status as European Capital of Culture for 2008 and also a change in attitude by the publisher, which previously felt that cities outside London were too small to publish in.
“A lot of it is to do with the fact that we haven’t been paying much attention to what’s going on outside London for a long time, because we’ve been concentrating doing Time Out in New York and Chicago,” said Elliott.
A one-off publication, planned for mid-September and edited by Mirror columnist and former Loaded journalist Bill Borrows will be the company’s first foray into Manchester, timed to coincide with the Labour Party Conference.