The media company melds mobile, news, marketing and e-commerce.
Katie Deatsch , Senior Editor
New York City is the center of all things big and bold, and Time Out New York took that to heart when it unveiled a major digital upgrade that includes a new iPad app, an upgraded iPhone app and an upgraded web site that allows consumers to purchase more goods.
Under the mobile umbrella, Time Out New York made some big changes to its small screen strategy. The publisher of content about what to do in New York has launched a free iPad app that serves as a citywide recommendation engine. The app offers personalized content for consumers based on their interaction with it. Consumers can use the app to make restaurant reservations and book tickets to shows. Users can also save stores, events and more to their favorites. For example, a user could save a coffee shop featured in an article to check out later when she is craving a cup of java.
“The app is smart,” the iPad app description in Apple’s App Store reads. “The more you use it, the more it will tailor itself to your preferences, showing you more of what you like as well as serving up new recommendations that similar users liked.”
Time Out New York says it plans to draw from parent company Time Out Group’s recent acquisition of LikeCube Ltd. and that company’s personalization technology to serve up tailor-made content. The app will also feature Time Out New York editorial critics’ picks.
Time Out New York’s new iPhone app provides users with arts, entertainment and venue information for both travelers and locals. The app features geolocation technology that pinpoints where a consumer is and shows him recommended activities nearby on a map. Users can browse by type of activity, area, and in more unique ways, such as the type of food they want to eat. It also provides updated event listings on activities around New York. Time Out New York says it plans to launch a similar app for smartphones using Google Inc.’s Android operating system in the next few weeks.
Beyond the mobile realm, Time Out New York also refreshed its content-rich web site—which doubles as an e-commerce site—offering more goods available for purchase, including tickets. The site is refreshed with a new domain timeout.com/newyork, unifying it with Time Out Group’s global properties. It also features a new Offers & Experiences platform for subscribers, offering daily discounts and deals through local niche companies. And anyone who visits the site and pines for, say, that tangerine-colored wedge featured in a write-up, can go straight through to buy it via links the site features to major retailers such as Payless.com.
Time Out New York first tried its hand at e-commerce nearly two years ago when it added a shopping section to its site where visitors could purchase items featured by the magazine’s editors from among products available through local New York area manufacturers and retailers. Clicking the image of a featured product took a visitor to a product page hosted by OpenSky on its marketplace web site, TheOpenSkyProject.com.
Time Out Group’s recent changes to Time Out New York are the latest in a string of strategic steps to advance as a worldwide digital media group since Oakley Capital Investments Ltd. acquired a majority share in the company in May. Since then, Time Out Group has made more than 60 new digital hires and acquired several technology companies such as LikeCube to further build out its presence on the web. It also launched a new web site for its Time Out Paris brand.
“We are a brand with considerable consumer trust, a distinct editorial voice and an incredibly active audience, which drives our business and puts us in a position that is unique in the marketplace,” says Aksel van der Wal, president of Time Out North America and chief operating officer of Time Out Group. “We will continue to scale in digital, from improving the overall online experience to deepening the types of offers that we provide to hiring great talent to develop them.”