Time Out New York expands digital, e-commerce strategies

Time Out New York launched an e-commerce business as well as iPad and iPhone applications as part of a strategy to expand its reach as a digital media group, the company said in a statement.

Time Out New York revamped its website to allow visitors to make transactions, such as purchasing tickets or booking restaurant reservations online. Another platform, titled “Offers & Experiences,” is intended to work with partner organizations to give website visitors daily discounts and deals to local vendors.

Time Out’s reinvention of itself was made possible when Oakley Capital Investments Ltd. became a majority shareholder in the company May 2011. “Oakley’s investment and the new structure has provided Time Out with the resources to scale in digital and generate new revenue streams,” said Valerie Brown, digital marketing director of Time Out New York in an email. “Transactions were organic to Time Out’s core business proposition and will now allow users to discover, plan and book the best arts and entertainment experiences with us.”

The company’s iPhone app also launched as part of this strategy. The app serves as a search tool for shows, restaurants and areas of interest around the city. The company said in a statement it planned to soon release an Android app.

The iPad app is personalized, meaning that it is designed to help users find recommendations and content based on their interests. The personalization is achieved using an algorithm exclusive to LikeCube, a company specializing in personalizing and targeting websites that Time Out acquired in August.

The personalization then becomes “more accurate over time as the information is augmented with page views, ratings and favorites,” Brown said. “Users will be served content most relevant to them.”

As more and more data is collected from users, the results will become more and more tailored, said Aksel van der Wal, president of Time Out North Americas and COO of Time Out Group in an email. The data drives a “probabilistic engine” which tailors the content to each user, van der Wal said.

Van der Wal said that these features will eventually be rolled out to all other Time Out locations.

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