TV Guide Canada, which once vied with Readers Digest as the most widely circulated magazine in the country, has ended for good TV news writing and reporting.
Editorial staff at the publication, which went digital-only several years ago, were told Wednesday by current owner Transcontinental that the news side of iconic television listings magazine is being shut down, effective immediately.
The move affects about five staff, a person familiar with the matter said.
A spokesperson later said one full-time job was affected by the decision, while the TV listings department, which still sells programming schedules to newspapers as well as to Bell’s television service, will continue operations.
Like its U.S. counterpart, the Canadian publication has been around since the early 1950s, growing through the ’60s and ’70s – alongside television and then cable — to become a fixture on living room coffee tables next to remote controls across the country.
In 2000, Transcontinental acquired TV Guide Canada from Telemedia, the former publisher of magazines like Elle and Canadian Living.
Like other print publications, the magazine has struggled in recent years to keep a hold over audiences and advertisers who are faced with a growing array of other options to get content or attract eyeballs.
TV Guide Canada faced a particularly acute challenge as TV viewers could easily look up program listings online rather than in its pages. Advances like PVRs have also increasingly made so-called “appointment viewing” less necessary for TV watchers.
Faced with declining readership levels, the decision was made in 2004 to shrink the magazine’s size by ending 24-hour listings.
Further steps were taken by Transcon in November 2005 to address falling readership and advertising revenues by replacing the six regional editions of TV Guide with two, one for eastern provinces and another for Western Canada.
On Oct. 19, 2006, Transcon announced it was ceasing print publication, the last edition was Nov. 25, announcing TV Guide Canada would be a “Web publication.”
The magazine continued to print special one-off editions up until 2010. In December 2012, tvguide.ca was merged into The Loop, an entertainment and “lifestyle” online portal owned by Bell Media.