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Cable Technology Feature Article

April 01, 2013

CBS Buys Half of TV Guide Network

By Nicole Spector, Contributing Writer

CBS Corp, the owner of the most-watched television network as well as of the Showtime premium cable channel, is growing its investments. The company just revealed it is acquiring 50 percent of TV Guide Network (TVGN). Though CBS has not disclosed how much it paid for its stake in TV Guide, it is rumored that it spent around $100 million.

TVGN (which is not affiliated with the television listings guide we all saw on our Grandparents' coffee table, TV Guide) has a substantially wide distribution, available in nearly 80 million homes. Nevertheless, the acquisition is a potentially risky one for CBS, which partners with present TVGN owners Lionsgate Entertainment in its co-possession.

TVGN has hardly seen great success. Compared to other entertainment channels, the network is in the gutter, collecting only two cents per subscriber each month. Other channels average between 20 to 50 cents per subscriber every month.

Last year was TVGN's most weak year in over a decade. The network produced $88 million in revenue – 17 percent less than it generated in 2011, and almost 30 percent less than in its highest grossing year, which was 2006.

How CBS will use – and hopefully breathe life into – TVGN is TBA, so to speak. Some speculate that CBS will use the channel to air its catalog of rerun gold that includes “Cheers,” “I Love Lucy,” “Beverly Hillbillies” and “CSI (News - Alert): Crime Scene Investigation.” Airing its library of classics would suit what following TVGN does have, as the network presently runs reruns of other favorite, retired TV shows like “Designing Women” and “Ugly Betty.”

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

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