Ex-Men's Health Editor to Head TV Guide
49 minutes ago
By LISA SINGHANIA, AP Business Writer
NEW YORK - The former editor-in-chief of Men's Health magazine was named editor-in-chief of TV Guide on Monday in the publication's latest effort to rebound from years of circulation declines.
Michael Lafavore, 50, will be responsible for the editorial content, design and direction of the magazine. He replaces Steven Reddicliffe, who resigned last year after seven years at the magazine.
In a news release, Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. highlighted Lafavore's record of improving magazine circulation. Lafavore, who was also a founding editor at Men's Health, oversaw that publication's circulation rise from 90,000 in 1988 to 1.6 million in 2000.
After leaving Men's Health in 2000, Lafavore was a magazine consultant with a focus on circulation for clients including Hearst Corp., Meredith Corp. and National Geographic magazines.
That expertise is important to TV Guide, which has seen its circulation fall. The magazine recorded just over 9 million subscribers for the six months ending June 30 according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, the most recent statistics available — a nearly 4 percent drop from the same time a year ago.
That decline has been attributed to a number of factors, ranging from increased competition in the TV listings market to the magazine's own acknowledgment that it could have invested more to retain and attract new readers.
In an interview, Lafavore said TV Guide readers should expect shorter stories designed to appeal to readers as they browse through the magazine. It's also possible the publication would expand its coverage of DVD movies, as more Americans purchase them.
"TV Guide is about the whole entertainment experience, and that includes some broadcast, some cable and some DVDs," he said.
Although the growth of cable and satellite have provided Americans with more places to get TV listing information, Lafavore said TV Guide can stand out by helping viewers decide what to watch. Most listings, he noted, consist of brief descriptions of particular programs, rather than more comprehensive information.
Dan Capell, editor of Capell's Circulation Report, a newsletter tracking magazine circulation, said that strong content and appealing design are keys for a magazine to improve its circulation — particularly on the newsstand. Editors who are able to spur increases at one magazine, frequently have the skill to do the same at others, he said.
"Since newsstand sales are determined by what's on the cover, you need a good editor. And a good editor tends to be a good editor, no matter what they're editing," he said. "Men's Health did really well on the stands. They're hoping (Lafavore's) experience there will help at TV Guide."
TV Guide was purchased by technology company Gemstar in 2000. Lafavore's appointment is only the latest in a series of changes relating to the magazine. Last fall, the company created a new business unit, the TV Guide Publishing Group, and installed John Loughlin as its president with the task of expanding the TV Guide brand name.
In trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market, shares of Gemstar-TV Guide fell 3 cents to close Monday at $3.05.