After 44 years as a paid-for title and with a declining readership, Time Out took the bold decision to move from paid-for to free distribution, the final step in its transformation to a modern, multi-platform media product.
We knew this was going to be big news, for Londoners and the media and advertising community alike.
Our strategy focused on securing quality coverage, with a depth of messaging that communicated the changes at Time Out to our multiple audiences; loyal readers, a new generation of socially active Londoners and, crucially for the free model to be successful, the media and advertising communities.
The big reveal was made with an exclusive in Media Guardian, which kicked off blanket coverage in the UK and beyond. To maintain the momentum between announcement and launch day, we staggered our stories and interview opportunities in the lead up to launch day.
The first ever Time Out Tuesday was marked with half page in The Times, the exclusive first interview with Time Out’s new CEO in the Financial Times, and a fun photoshoot of iconic Londoners with renowned lookalike photographer Alison Jackson, setting the news agenda for the coming days. A week of intense national, online and broadcast media relations followed; the media just couldn’t get enough of Time Out.
The success of our campaign helped reposition London’s listings bible itself as a multi-platform publisher fit for the modern media era, and turbo-charge its London readership. We secured 224 pieces of traditional coverage, but more importantly, we met our objective to focus on message and tone with 100% of coverage being positive.
Time Out exceeded its distribution target within six weeks of going free, has now significantly grown ad revenues and has grown a loyal and engaged readership, who are doing more in their city as a result of enjoying Time Out.