TV Guide Makeover

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TV Guide Makeover

For more than 50 years TV Guide has been a mainstay on the coffee table in the family living room as the premiere guide to TV listings. After recent years of circulation decline, TV Guide plans a radical change from primarily being a TV listing guide to something more akin to Entertainment Weekly. They also plan on slashing their circulation by a third, dumping most of the magazine's TV listings and replacing them with articles, features, reviews and color photography. Even the format will change to a much larger format.

During TV Guide's heyday, they had more than 22 million subscribers, which as of now is only around 9 million. Their plan to cut the circulation to around 3.2 million. Even with the reduction the company expects the magazine to lose between $90 and $110 million between its 2005 and 2006 fiscal years. The new format will contain 75 percent of the edit space to features, reviews, and behind-the-scenes, with just 25 percent devoted to listings - the reverse of the old format.

I grew up using TV Guide to figure out if anything good was on TV and I'm sure anyone older than 25 years old probably did the same. With the prevalence of digital cable set-top boxes with On Screen TV guides, satellite TV with On Screen Guides, and now even computers (Windows Media Center Edition) with On Screen guides, an Internet listings, the need for a "paper" format TV guide became less important. Not only that, but there are just too many channels and too many regional TV providers (cable/satellite) that all have their own channel numbering scheme making it too complex for TV Guide to print specialized guides for every single region and every single TV provider. Using an on screen guide you can more easily find what you are looking for as well. You can choose a genre such as news, sports, or movies and then scroll through the genre, or if you have a Media Center Edition PC or a TiVo you can even search by keyword to see when a show is playing.

Who would have thought that by having hundreds of channels today versus only a dozen or so 40 years ago would result in TV Guide's demise? (ok, not demise, but certainly not the same ole' TV Guide I used to know)

Update: (added after initial post)
This kind of reminds me of phone books and yellow pages. I never use a paper phone book any more - not with Yahoo Yellow Pages and the like. I actually just got a new phone book dropped at the end of my driveway which I was too lazy to pick up, so I drove over it for a week before finally dumping it into the trash barrel when I brought out the trash. What an unbefitting end for the Yellow Pages -- at least in my house.



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