TV Guide (Canada)
|Frequency||Weekly (1977-2006); now website|
|First issue||January, 1977
(the US version was sold in Canada prior to then)
|Final issue||November 25, 2006
(became website thereafter; occasional print specials since then)
|Website||Theloop TVGuide Canada|
TV Guide is a Canadian version, and later spin-off, of the American weekly magazine TV Guide. It was originally published by McMurray Publishing, a subsidiary of the American parent company Triangle Publishing, from 1953 to 1976, and after its split from the US parent, became the property of Telemedia in 1977 and then Transcontinental Media in 2000. It was published as a print magazine until 2006, at which point the weekly print edition was retired in favor of a website, though occasional print specials have been published as recently as 2010.
For many years, the Canadian edition of TV Guide was virtually the same as the US version, right down to the US ads in the colour section (until the mid-1970s, some Canadian TV Guide editions were also sold in some border American markets). The only differences were the price (in 1972, the US edition was 15¢, while in Canada, it was 25¢) and the publisher (the "Saturday" listings featured the notice, "This Canadian magazine is distributed, assembled and prepared by McMurray Publishing Company, Ltd...."). McMurray Publishing was a subsidiary of Triangle Publications, Inc., the U.S. based firm owned by Walter H. Annenberg. It was Annenberg who pulled together a handful of local TV magazines and launched the national edition of TV Guide in 1953. At least eleven editions were available across the country covering the major cities.
The magazine's original format consisted of several editorial articles on TV programming and/or issues related to television, with the bulk of the magazine featuring TV listings specific to the market served by a particular edition.
Beginning in January 1977, the Canadian TV Guide split off on its own, at first using some of the same stories and covers as the US version, but eventually publishing completely different editorial content, often with a Canadian focus although the Canadian edition also published features and photos on American productions that did not appear in the US version. The magazine, which otherwise used a similar logo to that of the American version, was published by Telemedia. Interestingly, Telemedia continued to use the same 70s US TV Guide logo and staple-bound format right up to the late-1990s, even as their former US counterpart began to update their logo and adopted perfect square binding during the 1980s. Similarly, while the US TV Guide began reducing its TV listings in favor of more editorial content, until the 2000s the bulk of the Canadian magazine's content remained the localized listings. A series of sharp price increases were applied, rising to $0.30, $0.35, and ultimately close to a dollar per issue. Telemedia sold the magazine to Transcontinental Media in 2000.
On February 24, 2004, TV Guide changed its format from a digest size, similar to the American version, to a larger format (similar in size to a comic book). The need to keep the page count reasonable while listing an increased number of channels was cited in the first new issue as the primary rationale for moving to larger pages. With the change in format came the decision by the magazine to cease printing 24-hour listings (following a similar decision by the US version); overnight programming was left off in order to focus on more frequently viewed hours, which elicited reader complaints.
As of November 5, 2005, TV Guide was reduced from the six remaining editions to two, one for Eastern Canada and one for Western Canada.
After receiving numerous complaints about the new format (one which severely condensed cross-country listings), changes were introduced in the November 26 edition. A year-end double issue for the December 24, 2005 to January 6, 2006 period was entirely in colour and included further scaled back listings.
On October 19, 2006, Transcontinental announced it would cease publication of TV Guide, with the last issue to be dated November 25 (and on newsstands November 20). Transcontinental said TV Guide would be transitioned to a "web publication", as the defunct magazine's website would be expanded. Although not the first publication to abandon print in favor of a digital version, TV Guide Canada was one of the first major Canadian magazines to do so.
While TV Guide has embraced the use of the internet to distribute content, it still occasionally publishes printed magazine specials on noteworthy events, under the tvguide.ca imprint. These specials included a special tribute to Princess Diana, which was released on May 6, 2007 and sold for $7.99+tax; a special issue to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Food Network Canada, which was released October 4, 2010, and also sold for $7.99+tax; and a Prince William - Catherine royal visit special, released in Fall 2011.
In December 2012, tvguide.ca was replaced with The Loop, Sympatico's lifestyle and entertainment portal, which incorporated TV Guide's television news and listings.