Alistair Smith over at THE STAGE has revealed details on a new controversy over in the UK that's worth reading... Time Out, the print publication that features listings and reviews launched a new production arm, appropriately titled as Time Out Live, "the events-producing arm and successful brand extension to the Time Out Group."
So far sounds OK, right? It does to me, who's always been a firm believer in expansion.
Now, here's the problem... The publication is now recommending its own shows as part of it's critic's choice 'top five best shows this week' and 'top five best outings this week' columns. If you read the fine print, it notes that the show is presented by Time Out, but Smith feels that "this is hardly clear to readers: Time Out is certainly not saying ‘we have a vested financial interest in you buying tickets to this show, for which we are a producer’." He ntoes that the shows have gotten a lot of coverage in the mag as well.
Conflict of interest - absolutely! I've been asked multiple times personally to take investor meetings for Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, but have always begged off citing a conflict of interest myself. I most certainly would not be able to fully direct unbiased coverage of something that I had a financial stake in. In this case, I'd most certainly advocate separating any sort of promos for Time Out Live events from their editorial coverage.
Click here for the full blog, and it's your move Time Out...