21 August 2000

America’s biggest-selling hard copy magazine TV Guide has reduced its guaranteed circulation by 8% to 9.9 million – the third time in five years it has made such a move.

The title’s continuing decline is common amongst mass circulation magazines – the likes of Good Housekeeping, Ladies' Home Journal and Reader's Digest, have all lost circulation in recent years. Concomitant with these losses is a fall in ad sales, with TVG posting a year-on-year fall of 5% in July according to the Publishers Information Bureau.

TV Guide, which completed its $14.2 billion merger deal with Gemstar International Group last month, is reacting to the adverse trend with an aggressive strategy to exploit its famous brands via new products. President and co-chief operating officer of Gemstar-TV Guide International , Joe Kiener, believes that the time may come when TV Guide listings are available only electronically

“Beyond the magazine the real story is that we have a multitude of platforms," says Kiener. He claims its cable channel reaches fifty-four million homes, its website logs three million unique monthly users, and its interactive program guides are used by seven million subscribers. The TV Guide channel will pull in advertising revenues of close to $90 million from almost nothing two years ago, the company claims.

News source: Wall Street Journal