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How publishing is changing during the COVID-19 pandemic

Yahoo Finance’s Alexis Christoforous and Brian Sozzi speak with Julio Bruno, CEO of Time Out, about how his businesses are changing in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Video Transcript

BRIAN SOZZI: "Time Out" magazine has long been known as the place to go to find things to do in a number of cities. But how do you switch your business model seemingly overnight when cities shut down all the destinations you are featuring? Julio Bruno is the CEO of "Time Out" magazine and had to do just that. He's joining us now from London. Julio, good to see you here. Give us a status of the business.

JULIO BRUNO: Hello. Good morning to everybody, and thank you for having me here. First, you say "Time Out" magazine, magazine is one of the things we do. Clearly, we have a large website and as well as the markets, so it's more of-- of a-- of a multi-platform company. We started as a magazine in 1968, of course. So the business has been tough for me with this when we did a pivot [INAUDIBLE] to "Time In."

When you are called "Time Out" and the COVID pandemia happens, what do you do? All the things we were talking about were going out, restaurants, theater, movies, music events, and we couldn't talk about any of that. So we have to pivot very rapidly into what to do from home. What are the best things you can do when you are in your home? What are the things you can buy from home?

And-- and the-- the team did a fantastic job there turning into "Time In," and we have been-- been "Time In" until August when we started opening the Time Out Markets and the cities decided to open again, and we became back "Time Out."

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Julio, I want to talk about those Time Out Markets. I was actually-- did my first one in Portugal a couple of years ago, and I really love the concept. I know you're opening up more, or you were planning to open up more pre-pandemic. What is that part of the business looking like? And have you had to put on hold some of the plans to open up others?

JULIO BRUNO: Well, we actually opened in the USA. We opened in New York, which I'm wearing the t-shirt. We opened last year also in Boston, in Chicago, in Miami, and [INAUDIBLE]. So, successfully all over the place. They were, you know, doing very well, and I'm happy that you-- you liked the one in Lisbon. That was the original one. It started almost six years ago. And-- and they were doing very well until this happened.

We had to close them down in the weekend of the 14th of March, but we since have reopened. We reopened in New York at the beginning of August and also the rest of the markets, except for Miami. And it's-- it was the largest part of the company by the time we entered into 2020. We have more opening in Dubai next year, London, in Prague, and other places.

So what-- what the pandemia has done has just put a little bit of a break, or a parenthesis almost, into all these. We will continue. We-- we have now reopened, and, you know, quite obviously the people are not there as much as before and the tourists are not there. But we have had, you know, fantastic reception because the chefs, who many of them, many couldn't go back to their own restaurant for all the reasons you know, in a way, we were like a refuge for them as well.

And we have the best chefs you can find in America working with us in the Time Out Markets. And we will, you know, after this pandemia goes away somehow and, you know, we have the vaccine and treatment, we are rebounding even stronger-- stronger. And we also created a Time Out Market app, so we now added delivery and take-away, which we didn't have before. So we were not idle throughout the pandemia.

BRIAN SOZZI: When do you think tourism will return to those pre-pandemic levels?

JULIO BRUNO: Pre-pandemic, what we are reading, it probably will take another year, if not-- if not more, because the travel industry is having quite a lot of issues. And I hope that governments like in the USA, we are helping the airlines as well too, because they are, you know, suffering enormously. But we are thinking about an 80% type of recovery by-- in 12 months from now.

But it will be-- it will take probably more a couple of years to go back to those levels of all the tourism because a lot of people, you know, lost their jobs. The economy has suffered a lot, and the recession, maybe not anymore a recession. But it's still-- you know, with 10 million job losses in the USA alone that we haven't yet recovered, it's going to take time.

BRIAN SOZZI: All right, let's leave it there. Julio Bruno, CEO of "Time Out," good to see you.

JULIO BRUNO: Thank you.