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DirecTV Inks Licensing Deal With Gemstar-TV Guide

EL SEGUNDO, CALIF. — DirecTV has reached a licensing and distribution agreement with Gemstar-TV Guide International to use Gemstar’s technology and its TV Guide brand in interactive program guides used by direct-to-home satellite service and its receiver manufacturer partners.

According to a statement on the deal, the agreement provides DirecTV with a patent license that allows DirecTV to use Gemstar-TV Guide’s intellectual property and technology in its own interactive program guide (IPG) or in alternative IPGs supplied to it by its vendors, beginning in January 2004. Under this agreement, Gemstar-TV Guide will receive fees from DirecTV rather than continuing to receive fees from DirecTV’s set-top box suppliers.

The specific terms and conditions of the agreement were not disclosed, but News Corp., which is currently awaiting federal regulatory approvals to purchase a 34 percent stake in DirecTV parent Hughes Electronics, holds a 43 percent stake in Gemstar-TV Guide.

In the first quarter of 2004, DirecTV will launch the TV Guide Channel on its “Total Choice” programming tier, which is received by the bulk of its subscribers. TV Guide Channel combines entertaining and informative television guidance and original programming. The channel has access to a library of interviews and exclusive behind-the-scenes programming.

“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,” said Jeff Shell, CEO, Gemstar-TV Guide International.