Clicking on the "magazine" button at the top of the TCM website now takes subscribers to an announcement by Palm Coast, the company which services subscriptions.
The notice says that the print edition will be discontinued as of August 2017, with prorated refunds given to subscribers in July.
In the future there will be a free email version with the printable schedule and some of the same editorial features.
The link regarding the end of the Now Playing guide was shared on TCM's message boards yesterday. After finding the link there, I broke the news to the classic film community on Twitter last evening.
Although the information originated on the TCM website, one wonders if some at TCM were caught off guard by the timing of the Palm Coast news release, as TCM wasn't "out in front" presenting the news to fans. To my knowledge TCM had not made a more formal public announcement with details on the changes, other than the Palm Coast page linked at their site, nor were subscribers contacted concurrent with the news being made public. TCM says direct communication with subscribers will be coming in the future.
This afternoon TCM responded to disappointed subscriber feedback on Twitter with a Tweet saying "Classic film fans, NPG is not going away; it's transitioning to digital with your fave features and more. Stay tuned for more info." TCM also Tweeted that it "hopes" to include the crossword puzzle in the new digital edition.
As has often been discussed at TCM Classic Film Festivals, TCM is much more than just a cable station, it's a lifestyle. The Now Playing print guide was an important part of that lifestyle for many of us, who will miss the attractive covers, glossy photos, and having all the month's info in a compact print form sitting next to our TVs. Some TCM fans, such as my friend Jessica, have maintained collections of old guides. Seen here is my collection of Now Playing going back over a decade, always at the ready for research -- and also serving as mementos of countless happy movie memories.
We all know print magazines of all kinds are struggling but for now can only guess that factored into TCM's decision-making process. Now Playing was an outstanding representative of the TCM network in our homes for many, many years, and it's going to be missed.
I'll be watching for future announcements on this topic from TCM and share the information here as it develops.