Friday, April 3, 2015

How about free? Does that work for you?

I was pretty shocked when this week's issue of  Time Out NY  arrived with the announcement that they are beginning free magazine distribution on April 15.  (And no, it does not appear that they will be refunding my subscription fee.) 

They'll also be doubling their circulation base to 305,000 and raising advertiser rates. (Sass, 2015)

So what do you think?  Will this be a winning strategy for them?

Sass, E. (2015, April 2)  'Time Out NY' Becomes Free Mag.  Retrieved April 3, 2015, from


  1. I don't think this strategy will work for Time Out NY. With this said, I’m not certain about the direction they are trying go with this strategy. It’s not the ‘free’ part that has me questioning the strategy; it’s the lack of digital focus that Time Out NY is putting forth.

    In my opinion, to be successful in today’s content heavy world, brands and media outlets need to understand that the world of digital is constantly changing and becoming a main model in viewing content. Within the digital landscape, traditional print media will fall by the wayside and online content will prevail. For me, it really comes down to one simple question: “What strategy can make content easily accessible and value-added to the customer?”. Part of the answer to the question is publishing content online and does not involve “street teams” handing out print media. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a place for everything, but I think Time Out NY could focus their energy and resources towards a more digital-heavy strategy.

    Now for my thoughts on the free aspect of Time Out NY’s tactics. In short, I’m all for it! I believe by giving away great content (yes, the content needs to be great) for free, Time Out NY will build up a base of fans and consumers who know that, not only they’re good for their word, they also know they’re on top/knowledgeable about their topics.

    Giving away free content can be hard and for Time Out NY, they are showing their follower base that they are happy to let their content go for free and build momentum in creating a follower base and sustaining a follower base.

    The important thing is that any time publishers are deciding what content to distribute free of costs, it needs to be a strategic decision. Time Out NY needs to be thinking three steps ahead. By giving something away for free, you’re looking to create leverage that allows you to eventually do something for profit.

    In sum, Time Out NY needs to figure out what content will get them what they want, and what audience needs to see it to make it happen.


  2. It seems as though Time Out has finally realized they need to increase their readership, and by offering its publication for free, I think they surely will. By having a freely circulated magazine with hyper local content, I think people who happened to stumble across it will go ahead and pick it up to read. This should prove to valuable to advertisers looking to reach the ny market. It’s also a good sign that Time Out will reverse its dwindling revenues.