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Time Out strengthens APAC foothold with return of Australia and Hong Kong titles

Julio Bruno, Time Out CEO

Time Out is looking to strengthen its presence in APAC following the recent acquisition of Time Out Australia and the return of the Hong Kong brand license.

The global publishing company recently acquired its Australian licensing partner Print and Digital Publishing, which published in five cities. The deal followed the return of the Hong Kong license in March.

Time Out CEO Julio Bruno told The Drum the moves were part of a broader strategy to increase its foothold in Asia, as the brand continues its global expansion.

“In Asia, we haven’t had as many owned and operated assets compared to New York or London, Paris or Los Angeles where we have been operating for many years,” said Bruno.

“In APAC we did not have those assets belonging to us, they belonged to licensees and franchisees and it was our ambition to have a direct presence in Asia Pacific. Gaining ownership of both Australia and Hong Kong is part of an overall strategy to put Time Out as a global brand together, wherever it is relevant and wherever it makes sense both culturally and economically.”

To execute this strategy, Time Out has appointed Tim Webb, previously vice president, international for Time Out Digital, as managing director, commercial, for Time Out Asia.

The group has also split into three clearly defined regions US, EMEA and APAC and is increasingly working with advertisers to leverage the brand’s global footprint and loyal audience of millennials.

“Little by little we can see that some brands want to take our global footprint and push global messages to our audience which is predominantly female millennials,” said Bruno.

Globally, the Time Out brand has a presence in 108 cities through print magazines, digital platforms, apps, city guides and events such as Movies on the River, Silent Discos, Battle of the Burger and the food and wine fixture Time Out Market, which has launched in Lisbon and is planned to roll out in London and Miami.

“We are the only global brand that you can read, eat, drink and enjoy. I don’t know any other brands that can do that,” said Bruno.

Time Out is also focused on growing its ecommerce platform by adding transactional functionality to enable users to not only find events and experiences but also book and purchase tickets from its sites.

Bruno said research had revealed that 95% of people that visited Time Out digitally went on to do something – visit a restaurant, event, or entertainment venue - as a result of visiting the site.

“We have these incredible assets, this incredible brand that has this fantastic curation of all the best things in any city in the world. Whether people were reading, researching or using our apps to see what to do on the weekend or where to see a play or what restaurants or hotels to stay in. They were being inspired by TimeOut but they couldn’t complete their transaction with TimeOut.”

“Building a transactional element into the Time Out experience is a continuation of what Time Out is for a consumer, which is your local ambassador holding your hand and advising you what are the best things in any city.”

The company has started to integrate these transactional elements into its content for cities such as London, New York, Paris, Chicago and Lisbon, and plans to continue to roll it out across its assets.

The moves follow a strong year for the Time Out Group, which reported a 23% rise in revenue to reach £37.1m for the year ended 31 December 2016.

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