The magazine is scrapping its cover price after more than 40 years of paid-for-sales in a bid to broaden its reach amid an increasingly digital media marketplace.
Mastercard, Vodafone, HMV and Channel 4 are among several brands running advertising campaigns in this week’s issue to capitalise on the title’s expanded circulation. The publisher plans to increase distribution of the title from 180,000 initially, to 305,000 within three months.
An outdoor marketing campaign will launch alongside the magazine that includes promotions at London Underground train stations as well as activity at Westfield Stratford Mall.
The publisher will also target readers at key cultural locations, arts venues, bars, cafes, boutiques and shops and aims to replicate the success of London’s Standard newspaper, which went free in 2009.
It features a revamped layout and includes sections on ‘how to make the most of London without spending a penny’, music and film reviews as well as a weekly top ten section. The first issue has 72-pages and of those, 28 are full-page adverts.
Observers have noted that the magazine, which they called a milestone for the publishing industry, will need to identify a sub-audience of younger professionals if it is going to attract advertisers in the long term. It is hoped that the launch will capture the success of London’s Standard newspaper, which adopted a free model in 2009.
Time Out’s publication date will remain Tuesday. Stylist is distributed on a Wednesday, Shortlist on Thursday and Sport on a Friday.