Sunday, January 21, 2007

TV Guide Shortens The Year For Its Subscribers

Jeers For Its Lame Explanation For Telling Readers Their 52 Issues Actually Run Out in November
I long ago stopped needing TV Guide for its listings, which have become all but irrelevant in the 500-channel universe. Used to be you could actually get some useful synopses of upcoming shows every week. But digital cable took care of that.
Still, the magazine does have its merits, even if it gets overly gushy about Grey's Anatomy and American Idol (but keep those 24 and Lost tidbits coming!)
Matt Roush's criticism is usually spot-on, and Michael Ausiello's column is alternately tart and reverential, but in a good way. My go-to every week, though, is the Cheers and Jeers column, lauding or lamenting the best and worst on the tube.
So, here's a Jeer, and this one goes straight to TV Guide itself.
It was without hesitation that I renewed my subscription, which expired in January. Yet, when I checked the address label for my new issue, it said I was good only until mid-November in 2008 instead of January.
What gives? The magazine is offering this, to put it charitably, rather incredible explanation: whenever the magazine has more than 24 pages of listings, it considers that a double issue, which may happen up to six times annually. Thus, while your subscription might be for 52 issues, that won't get you to the end of the year.
Dunno which Einstein in the publishing suite thought up that whopper, but apparently if you call TV Guide customer service and start yelling, they'll give you the issues you're really entitled to rather than just the ones the magazine thinks you should get.
Of course, most people don't read their subscription labels so they won't know until it's too late that TV Guide and its ilk are trying to pull a fast one. Get into the habit. As I have found out more than once, you might be surprised as to what you find.

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