Gemstar-TV Guide International, formerly based in Pasadena and then Hollywood, was one dog of a company when Silicon Valley’s Macrovision bought it about a year ago for $2.8 billion. Since then, it's been trying to sell off so many bits and pieces - at such discounted prices - that there's not much left. Today, Macrovision dumped the TV Guide Network, which is made up of that silly cable channel with all the program grids. Buyer is an investment group that includes former Dick Clark Productions CEO Allen Shapiro. Purchase price is $255 million, which is $150 million lower than had been bandied about as a discount price. The company is also parting with TVGuide.com, which attracts 15 million unique visitors per month. Macrovision, you may recall, sold off the print edition of TV Guide to the L.A. investment group OpenGate Capital for the token price of $1. In fairness to Macrovision, this isn't exactly a great time to be selling properties (asset sales are generating $350 million less than originally planned). Still, the $2.8 billion deal never seemed to make much sense, especially since the company had zero interest in so many of the puzzle parts. Now, even the puzzle parts look a little shaky. From the NYT:
The channel offers an endless scroll of television listings for viewers, and averages 108,000 viewers at any given time. In 1999, when the channel premiered in its present form, its slogan was “change the way you channel.” Unfortunately for TV Guide, many viewers have changed the way they channel surf, using the interactive program guides provided by cable companies or Internet listings instead of the old-fashioned network. Acknowledging the change in habits, the network has tried to transform from a utility to an entertainment destination (a la the E! channel) by adding hours of original programming, including TV show recommendations, celebrity profiles, and red carpet shows. Mr. Shapiro said in an interview that the evolution will continue. “Over time, the scroll will essentially be less and less relevant until it’s gone, and then we’ll have a fully distributed entertainment network,” he said. The network is available in 83 million homes.Bloomberg and Forbes also have the story.