NEW YORK – Gemstar-TV Guide International (GMST), whose TV Guide (search) magazine has struggled with a long-term circulation slide, said Wednesday it was launching a new weekly magazine focused on television news.
The TV listings company plans in late spring to launch Inside TV, a mass-market magazine devoted to TV shows and their stars. Unlike TV Guide, which is largely sold through subscriptions, most sales of the new title are expected at the newsstand.
TV Guide remains the biggest selling weekly magazine in the United States, although its circulation of about 9 million is about half of where it stood at its peak. The readership declines have come as viewers have gained many more options for scanning TV listings, ranging from newspapers to the Internet to on-screen displays on their televisions.
Steve LeGrice, editor in chief of Inside TV, said Gemstar was not worried that the new title would steal readership from TV Guide.
"Television has become so vast, and the range of programming is so vast, we think there is a huge area there to be exploited," he said in an interview.
The new magazine will compete with a slew of other celebrity-focused titles, such as Time Warner Inc.'s (TWX) People, Wenner Media's (search) US Weekly and Bauer Publishing USA's (search) In Touch Weekly.
Celebrity magazines have enjoyed big sales growth recently at the newsstand on readers' thirst for news on Britney Spears' marriages or Paris Hilton's latest escapades.
LeGrice, a former editor at In Touch, said Inside TV would be aimed at young female readers, the same audience that other celebrity titles court. But he said the magazine would be different from its rivals because it will focus solely on television.
Abe Peck, chairman of the magazine program at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism (search), said he thinks it makes sense for Gemstar to launch a new television magazine alongside TV Guide.
Readers have flocked to the celebrity magazine category in recent years, he said, and there probably is room for new titles.
"There's just an endless demand by readers for celebrities," he said. Also, with the growth of reality TV shows, "you have all of these 15-minute celebrities, who people nevertheless seem to care about."
Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. (NWS) has a 42 percent stake in Gemstar. News Corp. is the parent company of the Fox News Channel, which operates FOXNews.com.