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Time Out London calls time on magazine subscription service

Time Out London has stopped its subscription service, which delivered the free listings magazine to readers unable to grab a copy in person.

The weekly title is distributed at select train stations in London and can be picked up at nearly 500 venues across the city. It is also published as a digital edition online, which is free to access.

In an email to a subscriber, seen by Press Gazette, Time Out said most of its readers were now getting hold of a copy through its distribution services “which is why we will no longer offer subscriptions”.

After it went free in 2012, Time Out’s subscribers only paid towards postage costs, however as of this month all subscriptions have stopped.

Readers have been unable to renew their subscription, or set up a new one, since last summer.

Long-standing Time Out reader Francis Harvey said it was a “a great shame to deny access to the print edition to existing/potential readers, in provincial UK or abroad, who reside beyond the London area and only visit the capital occasionally/irregularly”.

Harvey, who has subscribed to Time Out for more than 20 years, added: “Surely most publications aim to maximise the numbers and geographical spread of readership, and welcome the – albeit modest, in this case – revenue received from subscribers.

“I realise the magazine will still be viewable online, which is better than nothing, but I find the paper format much easier and pleasanter to read, and for keeping cut-out items for subsequent reference.”

He said a friend would now send him the magazine, but he risked missing out on time sensitive events as a result.

A Time Out spokesperson said: “Time Out London has been a free magazine since 2012 and it is now widely distributed across London at hundreds of locations each week – this is something our audience enjoys and our magazine now has almost 1m readers every month.

“As such, since summer 2018, we have informed our few subscribers still using this service that we would no longer offer new or renewals of subscriptions. All existing subscriptions will be fulfilled.

“The Time Out London magazine also continues to be available for readers online via our digital edition and of course timeout.com offers access to Time Out’s curation of the best things to do in the city.”

Time Out made £15.4m in global print revenue in 2018, with total turnover from its media arm at £40m. But the group made an earnings (EBITDA) loss of £8.1m for the year.

Time Out was founded by Tony Elliott in London in 1968. It distributes some 300,000 copies in London. Time Out magazines are now available in more than 40 cities and the group boasts 7.4m readers worldwide.

The company plans to build a branded food market in London in 2021.

Picture: Time Out

Comments

2 thoughts on “Time Out London calls time on magazine subscription service”

  1. The comment by “Amy” seems to miss the point. Time Out’s print edition is still thriving and presumably profitable, but they are refusing to continue sending it to postal subscribers, even when offered additional payment for this service. Subscribers only paid a postage contribution to receive the magazine, so Time Out made no direct profit from supplying it, but subscription figures might have indirectly generated revenue by marginally boosting circulation/readership numbers and geographical/demographic spread, thereby enabling the publication to command higher advertising rates and attract a wider range of advertisers. Bizarrely, it appears Time Out does not wish to.

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