Following in the footsteps of The Guardian Guide and Independent Information, The Times is hoping a listings guide targeting ABC1 Londoners aged 25 to 34 will have a refreshing impact upon its ageing readership profile. Combine this with the fact that the Saturday edition of The Times has recently experienced significant sales growth in London and the South East (10.7 per cent year on year), and you could see many advantages of revamping the Saturday offering in this way.
Produced in an A5 newsprint format and edited by Dominic Wells (the former Time Out editor), The Knowledge aims to be our definitive one-stop shop for getting the most out of the "world's greatest city". The Knowledge's USP is that it is the only offering from a national title to include London-focused editorial as well as listings (though The Independent on Sunday's Talk of the Town might take issue with this).
Laid out in a clear, colour-coded manner, it is easy to find your way around. However, it owes more than a passing resemblance to the layout and design of the Evening Standard's Metro Life. And the opening feature, 20 of The Best, seems similar to the "50 Best" chosen by The Information each week.
The listings provide comprehensive coverage of the capital's entertainment scene. I liked the use of voxpops and sections such as "Street News" gave me some badly needed inspiration to branch out and see more of our city (if I ever tire of the entertainment on offer at the Balham Tup).
While the listings do their job, it's the editorial on London that is designed to make Saturday's Times a must-buy. Unfortunately, it is this that lets it down. Caitlin Moran's views on Glastonbury, Terry Gilliam's City Streets and an A-Z look at London's aerial views simply told me nothing new or interesting about London. The reviews similarly lacked any real authority to seriously rival those available from the competition.
The Knowledge definitely provides a new dimension to The Times on Saturday and I am sure that the marketing spend behind the launch will guarantee an uplift in sales. I am less convinced it will be strong enough alone to bring a fresh young face to The Times.
Publisher: Times Newspapers
Circulation: London and South East readership is 959,000
Full-page colour ad rate: £7,800
Advertisers include: Columbia Pictures, Yo! Sushi, South Pacific