Comcast To Shut Down TVWorks' Canada Office

Comcast will close the TVWorks interactive TV development office in London, Ontario, effective June 25 and has laid off about 125 employees at the location, the operator confirmed.

As a result of the closure, Comcast will consolidate video-platform development work at offices in Radnor, Pa., and Mill Valley, Calif., according to spokesman Jorge Alberni.

"Consolidating these operations is going to allow us to better support how we bring our customers advanced video applications," Comcast said in a statement.

The Ontario office had been referred to as TVWorks' "platform division" and Mill Valley as the "applications division." The Radnor office in the Philadelphia suburbs also is the headquarters for GuideWorks, Comcast's interactive program guide joint venture with Rovi Corp.

Employees in the Ontario office were notified April 27 of the layoffs and were offered the opportunity to reapply for other jobs in other Comcast divisions.

TVWorks was formed in 2005 as a joint venture between Comcast and Cox Communications. Cox exited the venture last year; the MSO is commercially launching its next-generation "Trio" IPG developed by NDS Group in various markets this summer.

In April 2005, TVWorks acquired substantially all of Liberate Technologies' North American assets. Prior to that, in 2002, OpenTV had sued Liberate claiming that Liberate infringed two ITV patents. Under an agreement reached in late 2007 between OpenTV and TVWorks, OpenTV agreed to "release TVWorks from past liability it acquired from Liberate," and TVWorks paid $1.5 million to OpenTV.