TV Guide’s O’Connor Jumps to Univision

Gemstar-TV Guide International announced Monday that Tonia O’Connor, executive vice president of distribution, will leave the company as of Dec. 31 to join Spanish-language broadcaster Univision.

O’Connor, who spent 14 years at Gemstar-TV Guide and oversaw distribution of TV Guide Network and other programming services, will join Univision as executive vice president of distribution, sales and marketing effective Jan. 2.

Her departure comes after Macrovision, a provider of digital rights management software, announced an agreement Friday to acquire Gemstar-TV Guide in a $2.8 billion deal.

Macrovision said it has no immediate plans to divest Gemstar-TV Guide’s media properties, which include TV Guide Network and the TVG horse-racing channel. However, Macrovision president and CEO Fred Amoroso said it would potentially execute “strategic alternatives” for certain Gemstar-TV Guide business units.

Multichannel Newsreported in June that the new regime at Univision, under CEO Joe Uva, had ushered out former longtime distribution chief Timothy Krass and was searching for a replacement that would help seek $1 per subscriber in retransmission payments in new deals with cable and satellite distributors, replacing those that mostly expire this year.

Gemstar-TV Guide CEO Rich Battista, in announcing O’Connor’s resignation, said she “has contributed to the long-standing relationships that we enjoy with our distribution partners in cable and satellite, and has helped us to establish new relationships with emerging platform distributors including telco providers and mobile and online operators.”

With O’Connor’s departure, Gemstar-TV Guide said the senior members of her distribution team will report directly to Battista. Upon the close of the Macrovision deal, expected early in the second quarter of 2008, Battista is to leave the company.