TV Guide, the iconic magazine that has long offered listings and features covering broadcast/cable television, is today spinning off a product devoted to streaming TV: TV Insider.
The new standard-size monthly is now available on newsstands and in digital format. The premiere issue, a robust 74 pages, features a cover story on TV hero Kiefer Sutherland, smaller pieces on Netflix offerings and other shows, and a department called "The List" — a guide to the best shows streaming and where to watch them.
The newsstand copies have circ cards, and there will doubtless be bigger circulation efforts going forward.
The magazine resulted from a simple problem:” We didn’t have room in TV Guide to cover streaming properly because of the volume of shows, more and more every year,” says Michael Fell, editor in chief of both products.
Don’t think this includes undifferentiated listings. “It’s about curation, and telling what’s really worth watching, as opposed to scrolling for 45 minutes for something and not landing on it,” Fell says.
The features are also important.
“Readers always told us the guidance part is key, but they said they still want t to read more about the shows and the actors,” Fell explains.
TV Guide is ever-popular—it has 1 million subscribers and 6 million readers.
Still, isn’t it a little risky starting a print magazine?
“Guidance for streaming is needed so badly that we have faith in creating a print product,” Fell says.
Where did the idea come from?
“The editorial choices including features and news stories in addition to the basic utility of what’s available, came out of reader surveys,” Fell says.
TV Guide was started in 1953, when there were three broadcast networks. Cable came later, then streaming. Fell has been there for a good part of it. He started at TV Guide 22 years ago as a fact-checker, and has been editor in chief for just about six years.
His team seems well-plugged into the industry: It interviews the players on videos at the main events, and has its own video studio in New York. “With any cover story, we always try to get the interviews on camera,” Fell said. It also offers email newsletters.
Isn’t he worried about competition?
“We don’t think there’s another, from the consumer point of view” Fell answers. “Nobody has the experience our staff does in covering the TV industry.”