DirecTV, Gemstar Ink Distribution Deal

DirecTV Inc. and Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. have reached a distribution and licensing agreement for the direct-broadcast satellite provider to launch TV Guide Channel and to use Gemstar’s technology and TV Guide brand for its own interactive program guides, officials said Tuesday.

Under the pact, DirecTV will roll out TV Guide Channel on its "Total Choice" tier, its most widely distributed programming package, in the first quarter of next year.

In addition, the agreement will provide DirecTV with a patent license that allows it to use Gemstar-TV Guide’s intellectual property and technology for its own IPG or in alternative IPG products supplied by its vendors starting in January. DirecTV can also use TV Guide’s name for its IPGs across its subscriber base.

Gemstar-TV Guide will receive fees directly from DirecTV rather than continuing to receive fees from the DBS company’s set-top suppliers.

The specific terms and conditions of the agreement weren’t disclosed.

Tuesday’s announcement marks the third major deal Gemstar-TV Guide has closed relating to its interactive guides and technology in the past six weeks.

The vendor forged a pact with Insight Communications Co. Inc. for the MSO to roll out TV Guide’s own IPG. And Gemstar-TV Guide also unveiled an agreement with Time Warner Cable, which will use the vendor’s intellectual property, content and TV Guide brand to create a custom IPG.

Gemstar-TV Guide was upbeat about its latest deal.

"This agreement demonstrates the value of our technology and intellectual property and indicates that our new flexible licensing approach is being well-received in the marketplace, creating a strong foundation for successful business relationships going forward," CEO Jeff Shell said in a prepared statement.