Jeff Shell, Co-President & COO of Gemstar-TV Guide International

This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, May 1, 2002, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.

Watch Your World w/Cavuto weekdays at 4 p.m. and 1 a.m. ET.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: The first issue of TV Guide debuted on April 3, 1953. For the next 12 months, Gemstar-TV Guide International (GMST) is celebrating its 50th anniversary. The global technology and media company provides services for over 100 million people in the United States every week.

Here to tell us all about TV Guide Media Properties, Jeff Shell. Jeff is the new co-president and COO of Gemstar-TV Guide International. We should disclose here NewsCorp, parent company of this news channel, is a contributor.


CAVUTO: Some 40 some odd percent. All right. Welcome, good to see you.

SHELL: Thanks for having me.

CAVUTO: How is it looking?

SHELL: You know, it's exciting. It's tough to leave Fox in any capacity, as you probably have heard, but it is a really exciting company. I mean, as you talked about, the magazine is just a fantastic brand.

CAVUTO: Yes. But there is a perception that it's a dying brand. Is it?

SHELL: It's absolutely not a dying brand and it's absolutely not a dying product. I think there has been a perception because of the excitement of the interactive and digital over the last couple of years and some of the other products we have, that perhaps the magazine was not our core product.

But the reality is the magazine is the driver of our brand and the brand is one of the best assets we have.

CAVUTO: Here's what I don't understand, Jeff. Where does all the high-tech stuff fit in with a standard paper publication?

SHELL: Well, I think what you have got to start with is the fact that the television landscape is changing, you know, and there is already 200, 300 channels. There is going to be 500 channels. There's going to be PBRs and there is going to be VOD. And in that environment, it's going to be more and more important...

CAVUTO: What is VOD?

SHELL: Video On Demand. It is already hard enough to try to figure out what to watch, you know, but when you are in that kind of environment, guidance is going to be very important. The TV Guide brand has been respected since 1953.

CAVUTO: No doubt about that. But if you have satellite or cable or digital, you know, you get these services that show all that...

SHELL: Which is our guide.

CAVUTO: Right, but not exclusively your guide.

SHELL: No, but...

CAVUTO: So you've got more heat there, don't you?

SHELL: Yes, but the combination of the fact that we have the best technology and our guide has already been accepted by a number of the MSOs, and the fact that we have the TV Guide brand means we can be a leader in that guidance. And I think that is an important place to be in the world of television today.

CAVUTO: Wall Street has a different image, though. Your stock, of course, like many media and related media properties, has been hit and hit hard, if we can just show that. And I guess they look at the publication of TV Guide itself, Jeff, and wonder how long for this one.

SHELL: Well, actually I think it is two different questions. First of all, I think the stock performance has been a kind of a perfect storm in the company. The reality is in this company...

CAVUTO: And a lot of concern about advertising.

SHELL: And a lot of concern about advertising. The reality is this company has net debt of negative 50. We have no debt at all. And we have $200 million plus in cash flow, and our financial strength is actually one of the strong strengths of the company.

The magazine is still the second-most widely distributed print publication in the company. It's squarely positioned in the middle of an environment where people are looking for more guidance and more usage. And I think the combination of that and the brand in our financial strength of the company combined with the technology that puts us squarely...

CAVUTO: But would the technology make that a moot point?

SHELL: No. The technology is complimentary because we are going to be offering a whole range of products. So whether it you're buying the magazine on a Wednesday to plan for your next week's viewing or whether you're sitting down at the TV and using our interactive guide to find out what's on at that moment, I think we can offer the whole range of guidance tools for the consumer and actually be pretty well positioned in that environment.

CAVUTO: All right. Jeff, best of luck to you. Good seeing you.

SHELL: Thanks.

CAVUTO: Jeff Shell, the Gemstar-TV Guide International co-president and COO. Busy fella.

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