NEW YORK When TV Guide hits newsstands this Thursday, it might as well be called ABC's TV Guide.
The new issue will carry 21 advertising pages for ABC, including brand and tune-in messages as well as a DVD promoting the network's fall programming lineup. This marks the first time the magazine will have a single-sponsor issue in its 55-year history, according to J. Scott Crystal, president of TV Guide.
TV Guide will feature print ads supporting ABC's prime-time, day-time and late-night programming, ABC News, ABC.com and Buena Vista Home Entertainment. The ads correspond to a new overarching ABC brand campaign.
"This collaboration with ABC is another example of our willingness to 'disrupt' the norm in terms of advertising placement and execution with the goal of being both memorable and more engaging to our readers," said Crystal.
Crystal pointed to the national magazine format [it changed from digest size three years ago] as being more suitable for a single sponsor setup. "But, the stars have to align for something like this to manifest properly. It has to be the right time, the networks have to have the right type of programming and budgets -- and the magazine has to be in the right season for something like this to be executed successfully," he said.
Michael Benson, evp of ABC Entertainment, noted that when the network learned the cover of the Aug. 25 issue would be on Grey's Anatomy, doing a broader "takeover" of the magazine seemed like a good idea. "It really felt like it was a good platform for us to go out and articulate who and what the ABC brand is," he said.