The publisher is to launch a paid-for loyalty card in London later this month (14 May) offering readers discounts for a number of entertainment and leisure brands including The Grand Union pub chain, The Cinema Club, The Design Museum and Merlin Entertainment.
Unlike traditional points-based programmes, such as Tesco Clubcard and Nectar, the Time Out scheme will give cardholders access to exclusive competitions, news and offers. Users will also be able to sync their cards to a mobile app. It can be used in place of the physical card as well as to access location-based offers.
The publisher will use data collected from the card and app to share insights with brands on users’ shopping behaviour including redemption rates and footfall. All marketing making use of the insights will come through the publisher’s channels so the data will always be owned by the Time Out group.
Ray Jones, Time Out business development director, told Marketing Week the idea to create a loyalty scheme had been “bouncing” around the business for a “long time”. Plans were accelerated as part of a wider move to be less reliant on traditional advertising revenues and transform itself into an ecommerce firm.
He adds: “We know from the research we’ve done with our readers that there’s an appetite for a media company like Time Out to launch its own loyalty scheme. There are other programs in other sectors out there but we feel we’ve developed something that delivers a further level of engagement for merchants and cardholders by creating a more targeted channel.
“Once people become a card holder we will start communicating with them on a weekly basis. The aim is to introduce a curated a lifestyle programme for readers that gives them the opportunity to discover things in London.”
Time Out hopes to build a community of around 12,000 cardholders in London by the end of the year.
A six-week marketing campaign will support the launch and emphasise the card’s discounts and offers.
The Time Out Card, developed in partnership with loyalty marketing specialists Footfall123, will have an annual cost of £49. A New York launch is scheduled for September with other markets such as Paris, Chicago and Los Angeles will follow depending on the scheme’s success.
Last July the publisher launched a new global platform to support its ticketing service as it looks to make ticket sales a major income driver.