Global publishing company Time Out is to launch new online editions for Manchester and Leeds.
Time Out Manchester is to officially launch later this week, with a Leeds edition to follow at an unspecified date before Christmas.
It’s part of the company’s latest attempt to succeed outside London, where it has published a magazine since it was first launched by Tony Elliott in 1968.
A previous print launch in Manchester failed eight years ago, but this time the magazine will be purely online and will attempt to replicate the success it has experienced with Time Out sites in San Francisco and Las Vegas. The company will also be launching new online editions in Glasgow and Edinburgh before the end of the year.
Altogether the publisher will now have over 50 editions in 30 countries.
A full-time member of staff, Rob Martin, has been brought in as digital content producer to oversee both the Manchester and Leeds sites. Previously a freelance photographer and marketing consultant, he’s also been digital marketing manager for both the Manchester International Festival and The Lowry, and was known to Time Out having worked for them as a listings freelancer.
He’ll be using a team of freelance writers and bloggers to generate the content, and will also be using some of the resources stationed at Time Out’s London office.
The new Time Out Manchester will be “brighter and more lively” and will be one of the first editions to use a new platform. It will therefore look more like the San Francisco and Las Vegas editions, which are also using the new platform, and less like the London one.
Among the sections on the Manchester site will be a things to do section, lots of best-of lists, restaurants, bars and pubs, a “very comprehensive” film listings section, music and nightlife, and a blog for more quirky and reactionary items.
While admitting the site would need to be fairly selective initially as it was “starting from scratch”, Martin said there would be 3-400 venues on there from launch.
“We’re starting relatively modestly but it will be a much better proposition than the old print version. We think that Manchester and other cities deserve something of the quality of Time Out, which is a trusted brand with writers who know what they’re talking about. It will also be generally supportive in tone and not sneering.”
Martin said that given the nature of the content the site would be mainly focused on the city centre, but that they would feature neighbouring areas when it needed to. Areas covered by the launch site include Didsbury, Salford, Sale, Oldham and Bury, he added.
Martin admitted the site had “projected figures we need to achieve”, but that they had a good idea of the kind of content that worked from its London operation.
Any lessons learned during the Manchester launch will then be put into practice for the Leeds launch later in the year.