By Nat Ives
TV Guide magazine has struck a deal with the TV Guide Network and TVGuide.com, properties that have operated under a different owner since Macrovision sold the TV Guide brand in two pieces.
The deal restores content from the magazine, which is owned by Open Gate Capital, to the TVGuide.com website, which Lionsgate bought along with the cable network. It adds print subscription offers to TVGuide.com and calls for plenty of cross-promotion among all three platforms.
Despite promotion on the cover and pages of the magazine, TVGuideMagazine.com never became a big consumer draw, attracting just 103,000 visitors in April, while 7.8 million people visited TVGuide.com, according to ComScore. Now the cover and pages will point readers to TVGuide.com, a site still owned by another company.
"We will remain separate companies, but basically we’re doing this so we can do more together than apart, particularly in the area of driving readership, viewership and visitors to the various platforms," said Jack Kliger, senior advisor to OpenGate Capital, the magazine’s owner.
"It’s a consumer-driven deal," said Michael Mahan, exec VP for corporate development and strategy at the TV Guide Network and TVGuide.com.
Still separate Macrovision split the magazine from the other properties when it took them all to market in 2008 because it thought the cable channel and website would receive higher bids unencumbered by the magazine, which had lost more than $20 million the year before.
TV Guide magazine –once the centerpiece of a $3 billion acquisition by Rupert Murdoch—fetched just $1 from OpenGate Capital plus the assumption of liabilities. The TV Guide Network and TVGuide.com, on the other hand, commanded $255 million from Lionsgate, the independent film and TV company. Lionsgate later defrayed its costs by selling a 49% stake in the properties to One Equity Partners for $123 million.
Although the pact reassembles cross-marketing and promotional abilities that had ended with the split, it does not give the platforms the ability to sell each other’s ad inventory. It also doesn’t preclude editorial partnerships with other entertainment brands—such as "Hollywood’s Hottest Moms," a recent collaboration between TV Guide Network and OK magazine.
"The businesses remain separate and distinct, the editorial teams remain separate and distinct, and the ad sales teams remain separate and distinct," Mr. Mahan said.