Wednesday, February 06, 2008

TV Guide

There is a dearth of deep bibliographic information available on television programs. Some information is collected by TV Guide as part of its programming but they haven't databased the full history of broadcast TV and as more and more TV programming is available for sale and download the requirements for deeper bibliographic details here increase. It is a business opportunity for someone who likes television. With the data that TV Guide does have, it has never appeared interested in becoming a database provider - in addition to publisher of the magazine. Opening up their database via data sales, widgets/asp, services etc. would seem to me to be an imperative given the rapid decline in the fortunes of the magazine. The company struggled mightily with the development of their online presence and they still have not been successful creating a portal or destination site for television fans.

That said Gemstar/TV Guide is in the process of being acquired for well over $2billion. The company purchasing Gemstar is Macrovision and not an obvious acquirer.
Macrovision offers content protection, digital rights management, and software licensing solutions that enable businesses to maximize the value of their digital content and software products. Our solutions are deployed by companies in the entertainment, consumer electronics, gaming, software, information publishing and corporate IT markets to solve industry-specific challenges.
They are not a database or information management company, but they do (I think) realize that use of bibliographic information in the businesses they own could be an advantage.

It doesn't appear however, that they couldn't achieve the same advantage by licensing the data rather than paying over $2bill for a company which not only is a debatable fit with Macrovision but has its own questionable history of business execution and business strategy. Since the announcement of the purchase Macrovision shares have fallen significantly (although so has the market as we all know) as have shares in Gemstar. Shareholders of Macrovision are not excited about this deal and there is some potential that the deal will get derailed. At the least, it seems the deal should get revalued and pressure for this should become more acute when Gemstar release their latest quarterly results in mid February.

More from Mediapost.

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