New TV Guide Finds More Cheers Than Jeers On Newsstand

  • by January 12, 2006
TV Guide's new full-size, full-color format appears to be catching on with readers who buy magazines on the newsstand, according to preliminary figures released by the company Wednesday.

The magazine's parent company, Gemstar-TV Guide International, said each of the 11 issues of the magazine sold on newsstands since it was repositioned from a digest-sized title on October 17, 2005 sold an average of 400,000 copies. The figure represented a 38 percent gain over the pre-re-launch average weekly newsstand sales in the third quarter of 2005, which totaled about 290,000 copies per issue.

The company also reported that the magazine's average circulation for the 11 new-format issues published in 2005 was 4.9 million, after eliminating virtually all sponsored sales that were part of the re-launch. The figure represented an over-delivery of more than 50 percent of the title's 3.2 million rate base.

TV Guide was re-launched and redesigned as a full-size, full-color publication with an assortment of feature stories replacing the traditional program listings that were once the publication's bread and butter. The moves were sparked by changing viewing habits--coupled with the proliferation of cable networks and the growing availability of regionally specific online listing services--that rendered TV Guide's printed listings virtually obsolete. Ad sales had also suffered: From January through November 2005, ad pages in the magazine dropped 32.5 percent, from 2115 to 1428--compared to the same period the previous year, according to the Publishers Information Bureau.



In another step to help revitalize the title, the company last week named a new publisher to oversee all advertising sales and marketing. Peter Haeffner, former advertising director for Meredith Corporation's Better Homes and Gardens, was appointed to replace Scott Crystal, who was promoted to president of the TV Guide Publishing Group in October 2005.

Although the new figures represented a boost for the struggling title, it was unclear how long the company would be able to sustain those kinds of numbers.

At least one issue of the repositioned magazine was highly promoted in a joint effort with NBC. In addition, the company raised the title's newsstand price from 99 cents to $1.99 beginning in the New Year.

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