Everyone’s second or third favourite source of things to do in London just went gratis. Every Tuesday from today, you can pick up a copy of Time Out London free of charge from central Tube stations and cultural institutions. Those who wish to carry on paying can subscribe for £25 and have it delivered.
With a new business model comes a new look. Necessarily, there’s a lot more advertising. We reckon 38 pages out of 80 are taken with ads. That’s roughly 50% of the mag, compared with about 25% in the 6 September issue. Physically, it’s a taller, slimmer (by 40 pages) beast, presented on cheaper paper. Inside, the content involves more lists, boxes and things-to-do suggestion panels. In publishing speak, it’s more granularised, providing a punchier read for the easily distracted commuter.
That said, the debut issue still contains one or two meatier articles, including an interview with Salman Rushdie. Marmite-like columnist Michael Hodges burrows from his back-page slot to somewhere in the middle. A few sections are absent including the readers’ letters and the TV listings. Around Town has also got the chop, meaning that smaller talks, walks and pub events are largely absent (but, hey, that’s what we’re for).
It looks like cash has also been saved on the subediting, as evinced by the “Eating and Drnking” tabs on page 72/73. Too much champagne at the launch party? Meanwhile, word on the street is that rival freebie mag Scout London will return soon to offer a bit of competition.
What do you think of the new-look mag? We’ve got a bit of a debate going on over on the Facebook page, or let us know in the comments.