CLOSE-UP: GLOBAL BRIEF; Time Out NY rocks rival Voice

Holly Moore reports on the progress the US version of the listings title is making

Holly Moore reports on the progress the US version of the listings

title is making



The Village Voice, the listings bible of downtown New Yorkers, is facing

real competition for the first time in its 41-year history - not from a

rival US publication but from the UK’s very own Time Out.



Time Out’s launch into the Big Apple last September was greeted with a

great deal of scepticism. But with the help of an in-your-face campaign

from the New York hotshop, Devito/Verdi, the London export is now

selling an impressive average of 51,000 copies a week.



As well as encouraging New Yorkers to rediscover their city, the witty

ads have also cheekily attacked Time Out’s rival. For example, this bus-

side execution: ‘The most concert listings in the city. It’s enough to

make you lose your Voice. Time Out New York.’



The Village Voice, meanwhile, has just scrapped its dollars 1.25 cover

price (dubbing itself ‘the newspaper that can’t be bought’) and

increased its distribution. Critics say the move to drop its cover price

has diminished the publication’s value just to fend off competition from

the upstart. But the Voice’s publisher, David Schneiderman, claims it

has been thinking about going free for about five years, long before

‘ankle biters’ like Time Out even thought of launching. ‘It wasn’t a

gamble and it wasn’t nutty. We want to increase our penetration of the

market.’



The paper recently put its popular personals and real estate listings on

the World Wide Web.



After that, the Voice couldn’t very well ask people to pay for what they

could get on the Internet for free, Schneiderman explains.

But there’s no doubt the Voice has been agitated. ‘We’ve made a

significant impact in a short amount of time,’ Patty Nasey, Time Out’s

marketing director, claims.



Despite taking a stab at the Voice in its ads, Nasey says it’s not Time

Out’s main purpose. ‘We want to make people fall in love with New York

all over again,’ she says.



Holly Moore is an associate editor of Adweek in New York



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