Thursday , May 12 2022

Time’s up for Time Out as London print edition of magazine to be axed

Time Out will stop publishing its London print edition after 54 years, becoming the latest in a long line of media outlets to abandon their physical presence and go online only.

Generations of Londoners used to rely on the listings and entertainment magazine to plan nights out, circling events in the magazine and reading reviews of what was on in the capital – but the final print copies will now be printed at the end of June.

Time Out was originally a paid-for magazine but switched to being a free publication in 2012, after the internet undermined its traditional business model by making it easy to find event listings online.

It survived another decade as a slimmed-down, advertising-supported publication – but as a magazine that promoted opportunities for going out and relied on being picked up by commuters, it struggled during the pandemic, when people worked from home and venues were closed.

Time Out website on computer screen
Time Out’s parent company said it would now focus on its online listings business. Photograph: M4OS Photos/Alamy

Time Out’s parent company said the pandemic had hastened a “transformation that was already under way” and it would now focus on its online listings business as well as its branded food courts around the world in cities such as Lisbon and New York. A Time Out spokesperson said it was in consultation with staff on the print publication about potential job losses.

Free print publications have struggled in recent years due to a variety of factors including advertisers moving money away from the format, commuters becoming more likely to spend time on their phones and the rising cost of paper – which quickly mounts up when hundreds of thousands of copies need to be printed. The men’s magazine ShortList and the NME music paper closed their physical editions in recent years, while London’s Evening Standard newspaper has racked up substantial losses.

Time Out was founded by Tony Elliott in 1968 as part of a wave of publications that sprang up in the era, originally including radical political articles and investigative journalism. After retaining ownership until 2010, he allowed external investment from a private equity firm that enabled the company to expand into other businesses.

On his death in 2020, the company described Elliot as a “visionary publisher” who was “a tireless champion of city culture”.

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