London listings magazine Time Out will be distributed freely in London, the Guardian reported.
With a circulation of 55,000 and a current price of £3.25, the cultural weekly will be undergoing a three-year plan of reinvigoration. The management aims at a circulation of 300,000 which will make up the loss of cover price revenues through more advertising revenues.
“The move highlights the changing nature of the publishing business, with most paid-for newspapers and magazines seeing circulation fall as readers look online for free news, reviews and listings information,” the Guardian noted.
Launched in 1968, the magazine saw its heyday in the mid-1990s with a circulation of more than 110,000 copies, twice the most recent official figure.
The declining sales were not the driving force to the decision, however, explained Tim Arthur, editor-in-chief of Time Out UK. Neither was the move forced by the private equity firm Oakley Capital, Arthur added. Oakley Capital purchased 50 percent of the company from Tony Elliott, the founder of the magazine.
“It is driven by opportunity. As a magazine it was the next thing to look at really, and now feels like the right time,” Arthur commented, the Guardian quoted.
The move to a more viable commercial model, however, received caution by its former employees, Duncan Campbell, who used to be its news editor from 1975 to 1981.
“Can it reclaim its commitment to the magical and radical city of London by introducing a news section that exposes, reveals and challenges – or will it settle for being just another of those bland, consumer-led handouts that are discarded to clog up the floors of London’s Tube trains and buses? Let’s hope it’s the former,” Campbell wrote.
Amid the keen competition, many magazines have responded with free titles. London paper the Evening Standard, which by reaching more out to more readers, was one successful example, the Guardian added.