Time Out New York Launches E-Commerce, Daily Deals Platform
Relaunched site, new iPad apps part of strategic digital media expansion.
Moving forward with an expanded focus on digital media, Time Out New York (TONY) has integrated e-commerce and daily deals intoÂ its websiteÂ and newly-launched apps.
Users can now purchase theater tickets and book tables at restaurants directly through the site and apps. TONYâs new âOffers & Experiencesâ platform offers daily discounts from local niche companies.
âWhen people used to come to our website and start planning their evening, they subsequently had to go to other websites to book,â says Aksel van der Wal, president of Time Out North America and COO of Time Out Group. âFrom our perspective, itâs a much better user experience if they can book on our website as well.â
From a strategic standpoint, itâs also a revenue generator for the company. TONY receives a revenue share from all transactionsâa percentage that varies depending on the vendor relationship, says van der Wal. For restaurant bookings, TONY partners with reservations site OpenTable; for theater tickets, the company works with local theaters. Daily deals are mostly offered through existing advertisers and is âan extension of what we offer our business partners,â says van der Wal.
The new apps, for iPad and iPhone, are designed to offer relevant, targeted suggestions based on user activity and are powered in part by the personalization algorithm provided by LikeCube, a UK-based semantic analysis company Time OutÂ acquiredÂ last August. The apps will also offer picks from TONY editors.
The iPad app will launch in London within a couple of months, and van der Wal expects some of the companyâs licensees in 35 global cities to have âpicked it upâ by then as well.
Formation of a Global Digital Media Group
Private equity firm Oakley CapitalÂ acquiredÂ a majority stake in Time Out New York last May, following its initial investment in Time Out London in November 2010, with the goal to create a global digital media group called Time Out Group.
Part of the plan was to develop a single multi-channel online platform powered by a central content database and transaction engine. TONYâs shift to the new timeout.com/newyork domain is a move to unify the site with Time Out Groupâs other global properties.
Since Oakleyâs acquisition, Time Out also purchased daily deals siteÂ KeynoirÂ and luxury shopping siteÂ Kelkoo Select, in November and December respectively, in an apparent attempt to acquire the companiesâ e-commerce capabilities.
Despite this push to a digital focus, van der Wal says Time Out has no current plans to back off print. âPrint is still extremely important for us,â he says. âLike with any print product in the last years, print is under pressure. Thatâs no news. But itâs still a crucial part of our offering.â
TONYâs print circulation is just under 150,000, while itâs main website drew 1.85 million unique visitors in Februaryâaccording to van der Wal, a 91 percent increase since Oakleyâs acquisition of the company last May.
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