The final print edition of TimeOut will be out on September 15, which incidentally also marks the 10th anniversary of the magazine in India, following which the magazine will go all digital starting October this year. As part of this move, most of TimeOut’s employees were also reportedly asked to leave the company.
Note that Essar Group company Paprika Media has a tie-up with TimeOut to publish these print magazines and manage their respective websites. It currently has three city-specific editions in Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi.
Paprika Media COO Rajnish Rawat told the publication this move was necessitated by a change in consumer behaviour and consumption patterns, and the company started noticing that its readers rely more on mobile devices and computers to access its city-specific content. The emergence of services like TimesCity and Zomato also probably impacted these fortnightly magazines. Interestingly, its worth noting that both these services also have a print presence in form of print guides.
That being said, this is not the first time where TimeOut has shut its print edition in favour of a digital-only edition. In March last year, TimeOut had shut the print edition of TimeOut Chicago, transforming it into a digital-only publication.
Earlier in April this year, TimeOut managing director (advertising) St. John Betteridge had also stated plans of strengthening its digital presence by providing personalized content to its users.
In 2012, Newsweek magazine had also transitioned to an online-only format. It had stated loss of readership and advertisement as the primary reasons for this switch.
Why the switch? Besides emergence of online-only services which provide similar content to users, this switch is also possibly happening primarily because the readership is increasingly going digital.
Due to this, the advertising spends are also somewhat shifting to digital, where the audience base is growing, from magazines, where the base appears to be declining. In this scenario, the magazine business has few options: they will have to consolidate to bring in economies of scale or augment print with a digital presence and figure out ways of reducing operational costs. It’s quite possible that more publications will switch to the web in the future.
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