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TV Guide linking up

Interactive synergy a plus for advertisers

NEW YORK — TV Guide is giving advertisers one-stop-shopping with a vengeance, linking together the weekly magazine, its Cable Guide clone, the TV Guide schedule-grid cable channel, the magazine’s Web site and its various digital interactive program guides.

Lumping all of these activities under the new rubric TV Guide Media Sales, the company has promoted Dick Porter, 42, to the post of executive VP and GM. Porter was senior VP and publisher of TV Guide magazine.

Porter says an advertiser who wanted to take advantage of all of TV Guide’s platforms could get its pitch to 70-million people, more eyeballs than even a powerhouse like ESPN can deliver, he adds.

For example, Johnson & Johnson has signed a yearlong contract with TV Guide that will make it:

  • The exclusive sponsor of TV Guide magazine’s biweekly family page.

  • The sponsor of the “Family Finds” segment of the TV Guide channel.

  • The primary advertiser for the Sept. 3 launch of a special family site within TV Guide Online.

Porter says TV Guide is planning to add more platforms, such as a Spanish-language edition of the magazine to be sold in U.S. cities with large Hispanic populations. Also, TV Guide will spin out one of the most popular features of the magazine, celebrity food recipes, into a separate monthly publication, he says.

TV Guide’s ad pages slipped by 6.6% in 1998, but the magazine has engineered a comeback. For the first six months of 1999, its ad pages are up 11.4% and its revenue has climbed by 11.7%, to $29 million. The TV Guide Channel has also increased its ad revenue by 20%, to $4.5 million, for the first half of 1999 compared to the same period a year ago.

In another personnel move, Chris Manning, 43, VP of national advertising for TV Guide Networks, gets a promotion to senior VP of TV Guide Media Sales, reporting to Porter.

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