For the past three years, Jack Kliger has worked as a paid consultant to TV Guide Magazine, helping return the 60-year-old troubled brand to respectability. Now, it’s formal: He’s been named CEO of the magazine.
Kliger will continue to do what he’s done before, namely, providing strategic direction, work on growing revenue and audience and overseeing its editorial content. He'll also play an active role in helping parent OpenGate Capital, a Los Angeles-based private equity firm, expand its publishing portfolio. OpenGate announced today that it's starting a new division, OpenGate Media Group, to acquire media companies and expand its existing publishing portfolio. In addition to TV Guide, OpenGate operates PennySaver USA and French book publisher Fleurus Presse.
Once a fixture of American living rooms, TV Guide had been beaten down by ownership changes, staff and circulation cuts when OpenGate bought it and brought on the seasoned publishing exec Kliger, a former president and CEO of Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S. and evp of Condé Nast Publications.
Kliger slashed circulation further, which enabled him to increase the average circulation price. To lower the cost base, he cut staff more. He’s also been able to lure back advertisers; this year through September, ad pages rose 6.3 percent year over year, per Publishers Information Bureau.
Meanwhile, TV Guide has brought on new revenue as a custom publisher, handling non-content operations for the print and tablet editions of Sandra Lee Magazine since 2012.
Kliger said that with TV Guide stabilized and profitable, the time was right to formalize his role at the company and find new opportunities for growth. He sees that coming from three areas: Finding new ways to use TV Guide's entertainment content, developing the custom publishing arm and buying publishing companies' unwanted assets.
“In the past couple of years, the business has stabilized, but since TV Guide is a standalone operation, we wanted to develop a media business that includes multiple brands and multiple platforms,” he said, quipping, ”Give me your tired, your weak, your poor, yearning to be free. We can unlock some value from companies that don’t necessarily fit as part of a bigger company.”
Kliger and his business partner David Fishman, who also was named chief operating officer of TV Guide today, will be partners in the new division.