IPG Effort Takes Shape

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Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. and Comcast Corp. have completed creation of their joint venture to develop interactive program guides, with Comcast contributing an up-front cash payment of $250 million.

Comcast also agreed to a long-term patent license and distribution agreement with Gemstar, the companies said last Thursday.

Comcast will control the joint venture — initially announced in February — and own a 51% stake, while Gemstar will hold the other 49%.

The venture will name a president but hasn’t settled on that executive yet, Comcast spokeswoman Jenni Moyer said on Friday.

Gemstar’s affiliate-sales team will handle sales of the IPG services developed by the joint venture.

Executive vice president of new business development Steve Silva is Comcast’s point man on the venture. Silva, Comcast vice president of digital television Mark Hess and executive vice president of sales, marketing and customer service David Watson will represent the MSO on a controlling five-member board.

Gemstar’s board representatives are TV Guide Television Group president Ian Aaron and Todd Walker, senior vice president and general manager of TV Guide Interactive.

Silva also oversees Comcast’s other software and IPG-related services, including its agreement to use Microsoft Corp.’s IPG on some systems.

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