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TV Guide: I'll Buy That For a Dollar!


Failing publication sold off for a buck.


In a move resembling a kindly old man selling his 17-year-old grandson his car for a quarter, Macrovision (MVSN) unloaded the print edition of TV Guide to private equity firm OpenGate Capital for $1.00.


For a little perspective, an issue currently costs $2.99. In Macrovision's defense, that is more than it cost when Lucy and Desi's newborn graced the cover of the premiere issue in 1953.

That is, if you don't adjust for inflation.

It's not yet known if the future sale of the TV Guide Network will command a puppy and a stick of gum.

Macrovision -- a cornucopia of digital media, computer software and web publishing -- acquired Gemstar-TV Guide last December for $2.8 billion. The deal included their VCR Plus and electronic program guide patents, as well as TV Guide magazine and its online division. However, the company has since been unable to halt the ongoing decline in the print edition's popularity.

Apparently, Markie Post's pasta-salad recipes don't inspire the same wild excitement they once did.

Over the past 3 decades, TV Guide's readership has plummeted. In 1970, circulation topped off at roughly 20 million; in 2008, it's a mere 3.3 million. Given the ubiquity of cable-box program guides, online schedules and even the TV Guide Network itself, viewers simply don't need to thumb past Katherine Heigl's fashion tips in order to see what comes on after House.

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