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Comcast Drops Guide From 11 N.J. Systems

Jersey City, N.J.- Comcast Corp. con-firmed last week that its Northeast region will eliminate print program guides here and in 10 other New Jersey systems as of Nov. 1.

The print guides "just don't make money," said Northeast region director of public affairs Robert Smith. "The cost versus the subscriber rate is a loser right there-before [adding in] postage and administration or handling costs."

Roughly 50,000 of Comcast's New Jersey customers receive the print guides, which have been published by
TV Guide

since it purchased TVSM Inc. in mid-1998.

Smith said the publications have proven unwieldy in capturing the greatly expanded programming now available via digital cable. To include all of those listings, the publications would need to be "the size of the telephone book," he said.

Comcast has replaced the print guides with Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. 'selectronic programming guides, available on both the Motorola Broadband Communications Sector and Scientific-Atlanta Inc. platforms, he said.

The only system continuing with a print guide-a weekly, customized magazine published by
TV Guide
-is Comcast Garden State, which covers Camden, Ocean and Burlington counties, he said.