Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Buck Stops Here

Remember a couple of months back, when I mentioned that I had let my TV Guide subscription lapse, leaving our home TV Guide-less for the first time in thirty-five years? Well, apparently I'm not the only one who decided the new guide-less, larger-size gossipy format was unnecessary--TV Guide has become a massive money-loser, and as a result the publisher has sold the magazine to another investor for $1.

That's right--TV Guide the publishing venture, once the second most profitable magazine in the US, has become such a money loser that the entire operation sold for 1/3 the price of a single issue. Don't take my word for it--read all about it here. I'll wait...

Even better, they get a $9 million-plus loan at less than current market rates in exchange for paying a buck. And when you consider how tough loans are to come by right now, that's doubly amazing.

It's also sort of sad. I remember a time when TV Guide was so integrally linked to my entertainment that the new issue was the first thing I grabbed from the stack of mail when it came in. We usually got our TV Guide on Thursday for shows starting on Saturday, giving me a scant two days jump on the first listings. Bear in mind that we had no VCRs at this time, so actually planning our schedule around must-see TV shows not only made more sense, it was necessary. There was no other way to see them, other than hope they'd be rerun at some point in the future.

When VCRs did come along, TV Guide made it possible for us to plan our schedules for viewing and for recording; I'd spend an hour or so scanning the lists for rarely-seen movies so that we could record them and watch them without having to sit up until the wee hours of the morning.

Back then, TV without TV Guide seemed only half as enjoyable. Now, TV Guide seems less useful than a number of media websites. Oddly enough, the one site I never visit is... tvguide.com.

I wish the new owners lots of luck. But until they can find a way to convince former diehards like me that the magazine has any value in today's world, there isn't a chance that they'll turn it around. I suspect that there will be no TV Guide five years from now... but I hope these guys can prove me wrong!

1 comment:

JaniceG said...

This really is sad news - I had a subscription for years. I was shocked the last time I was in the US at how different the magazine is now from when I used to look forward to getting it in the mail and planning my viewing.