Gemstar-TV Guide International

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Let's see now: There are the restatements of earnings restatements, there are the patents much of the company is based on that have been successfully challenged in court, and there's a flagship magazine that's had its circulation fall 40% in a decade. (The company's stock price this month has been down more than 80% from its 52-week high, or more than AOL Time Warner.) 2002 and '03 look to be a time of serious transition for the title that still sells more than 9 million copies a week, but has had a hard time finding its way in a world exploding with channel choice and alternate means to access that information. A couple years back, a company executive spoke of transitioning TV Guide to a more celebrity-oriented focus, like that of Time Inc.'s People, and a corresponding drop in circulation. What's coming under the new management team-industry vets John Loughlin, president of TV Guide Publishing Group; Scott Crystal, publisher of the group; and TV Guide Editor in Chief Michael Lafavore, who made his bones at Men's Health-is a shift to helping the viewer choose. That much is now clear, and the new team wins kudos from observers for their past accomplishments. Now they have to stabilize an asset that lost 11.1% of its ad pages last year, has heavy exposure to the negative trends wracking newsstand sales and sits within a company that has significant challenges of its own.

Rating: 1.5 stars

TV Guide

ad pages

down 11.1% to 2,457.9

circulation

down 0.4% to

9.1 million

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