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
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