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TimeOut is now free? Good or bad? Opposing views from Editor Tim Arthur and ex-Columnist Christopher Fowler

FREE TimeOut Magazine – Sounds great, but why change to free?

I was surprised to learn that TimeOut has become a ‘free’ magazine this week. It joins Stylist, Sport and a host of others in the freebie ‘handed-to-you-at-the-station’ publications.

So why has Time Out decided to drop the £3.25 cover price to become free? Well, on the face of it, I suspect that a dropping circulation and a lot of online competition for ‘what’s on’ listings are a significant factor. When I first came to London in the 80’s, Time Out was THE source for everything that was happening. Without it, you were stuck trawling through music magazines and searching through Evening Standard which many Londoners bought every evening after their day at work. (Yes, bought. It wasn’t free back then).

Looking online, there have been some polarised reactions. It appears that Time Out‘s current editor Tim Arthur (Twitter: @TimArthurTO) is aware that the free incarnation may not be popular and is understandably, putting a positive spin on the move.

“It’s bigger, bolder, funnier and I truly believe it’s better. We’re not dumbing it down. We’re not going to lose our integrity… We know that some people don’t like change but all we’re asking is that you give us a chance.”

Source: Tim Arthur

In contrast, Christopher Fowler (Twitter: @Peculiar), who claims to have been a Time Out London columnist for 5 years is less than forgiving in his latest blog post “Goodbye, Time Out”.

“The new free version… is – to put it bluntly – utterly shit.”

Source: Christopher Fowler

I haven’t seen this week’s new free TimeOut yet. In fact I haven’t bought a copy of TimeOut in years. Unlike the 80’s, Twitter, Facebook and several select websites now tell me what’s happening with venue openings and events. Which probably says it all… However I have visited the Time Out website multiple times this week. As they say, actions speak louder.

Well, I’ll give TimeOut London another chance. I’ll be off to the station to pick up a copy.


FOR: Tim Arthur – Time Out Editor-in-Chief

AGAINST: Christopher Fowler

BBC News: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-19713579

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