Major Conflict of Interest @ Time Out UK

by Robert Diamond

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...


Robert Diamond founded BroadwayWorld.com in 2003, which has now become the largest theatre web site in the world. He also serves as the site's Editor-in-Chief, covering Broadway and beyond, with specific local coverage for 100 cities in the United States, 30 countries worldwide and 15 other related areas of entertainment - including dance, opera, fashion, concerts, comedy, films, television and more. The 2001 Syracuse University graduate (School of Information Studies) is also the owner of Wisdom Digital Media, an award-winning leading design company for entertainment and technology web sites. In his previous life, he held an executive position for the world's leading publisher of technology magazines, web sites and conferences and, as a result, was named among the "Top thirty magazine industry executives under the age of 30" by FOLIO Magazine. Diamond got his start in the entertainment field, accidentally, when he created the 'official web site' (while in college) for Michael Crawford, the popular actor and original Tony and Olivier Award-winning star of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. (He still blames Crawford - and credits him - for anything that goes particularly right or wrong during an average day.) As a respected member of the Broadway and theatre community, Diamond also served as Lead Producer for a series of sold-out shows using the BroadwayWorld.com 'brand' for a set of 'Standing Ovations' concerts, which also branched out into titles that included Holiday Shows and even more specific concerts like 'From Stage to Screen and Back Again' in tandem with publishers and movie studios. All proceeds were in turn donated to Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS, the industry's leader in aid for performers in need. Robert lives in Manhattan with his wife and two dogs, growing the business and getting little sleep. In addition, you can usually find him in a theatre many nights a week. Robert's very popular blog, 'The Broadway Pulse' appears daily on BroadwayWorld.com and he also writes weekly about theatre for the USA Network's Character Approved blog. In December of last year, Diamond was one of 5 Syracuse University Alumni, all having achieved success in the world of start-ups, business growth and venture capital, participating on a panel addressing young alumni who are currently pursuing their dreams of running their own business and experiencing the day to day challenges of a startup. It is part of the university's new Student Accelerator Program, for which Rob was recommended by Syracuse University's i-School.