Pasadena, Calif.-- Gemstar International Group Ltd. said
last week that it signed a long-term license agreement with Americast Corporate Media
Partners -- a joint venture of Ameritech Corp., BellSouth Corp., GTE Corp., Southern New
England Telecommunications Corp. and The Walt Disney Co. -- under which Americast will
exclusively deploy Gemstar's electronic program guide in its digital services.
Ameritech's Ameritech New Media unit is the biggest of the
operators, with about 200,000 cable customers in the Midwest. GTE has cable systems in
Florida and California, while SNET operates in Connecticut.
Gemstar has signed deals with direct-broadcast satellite
operators DirecTV Inc. and EchoStar Communications Corp. to use its "Guide
Plus+" system in set-top boxes. The guide is also embedded into various
consumer-electronics manufacturers' devices.
But Gemstar has failed to dent the cable market, where TV
Guide Inc.'s TV Guide Interactive claims 2 million digital subscribers.