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Timeout magazine goes free

Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - 02:48

Sept.25 - Popular entertainment magazine Timeout is now being given away for nothing in London, one of a growing number of publications to decide that marketing their titles for free makes more economic sense. Andrew Potter reports

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Hot off the press, with a key difference. NATURAL SOUND: "Free Timeout!" Timeout is one of London's best known entertainment magazines. From Tuesday it's being given away. Editor Tim Arthur explains why. SOUNDBITE: TIM ARTHUR, TIMEOUT EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, SAYING (English): "It's quite a simple thing, we take away the cover price and because our circulation goes from 50,000 to 305,000 you get this massive reach across town which means you're able to attract advertisers that we haven't done before, we're able to bring in slightly more revenue from advertising and that's how we cover it as a business." Ahead of the launch Timeout's production team battled the clock. NATURAL SOUND: "Seven a half hours to finish the mag." The magazine has been completely redesigned to meet its new market. SOUNDBITE: TIM ARTHUR, TIMEOUT EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, SAYING (English): "The whole idea was that we just wanted to do something to hit people in the face really, just captured it in one quick hit." PIECE TO CAMERA: ANDREW POTTER, REUTERS CORRESPONDENT SAYING (English): We'll it's not secret that Timeout's paid has seen its circulation fall. It sold 93,000 copies a week in 2006 but last year that figure was around 54,000. Greg Miall has launched successful free publications in the UK and Europe and was brought onboard to help Timeout do the same. SOUNDBITE: GREG MIALL: PROJECT DIRECTOR, TIMEOUT, SAYING (English): "One of the main tennants of the business model is that your circulation is more or less your print run so you reduce costs that way and then you focus very heavily on the advertising side. And you guarantee an audience. You're guaranteeing a very strong audience. So the circulation is flat and you know who you're getting the copies to. And they're very much ABC1 as we call it in the UK, white collar workers, and they're very attractive to advertisers." Each afternoon in London, stacks of Evening Standard newspapers are given away. After going free in 2009, the paper's circulation doubled to 600,000. Print media commentator Colin Morrison says an economic reality unthinkable a few years ago is making more and more sense. SOUNDBITE: COLIN MORRISON, PRINT MEDIA COMMENTATOR, SAYING (English): "Some newspaper publishers would clearly make more money ironically from sacrificing the cover price and the need to promote to readers, get a bigger audience, get more advertising that way, grow a stronger business. So there will be more of today's newspapers going free but also more magazines." That could make for a crowded market. But Timout is confident the quality of its magazine will make the difference even if readers aren't paying anything for it. Andrew Potter, Reuters

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Timeout magazine goes free

Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - 02:48