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Rovi Exits Comcast Guide JV

Rovi Corp. has exited GuideWorks LLC , a joint venture formed with Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) in 2004, but said it will continue to work with the MSO under an "expanded license" that gives Comcast access to Rovi navigation patents tied to mobile, online, and other distribution platforms. (See Rovi Exits GuideWorks JV.)

Before the buy-out, Comcast already owned a 51 percent stake in GuideWorks, a division that develops interactive program guides (IPGs) and other set-top applications. Rovi (formerly Macrovision) distributes products coming out of the J.V. under its own "i-Guide" brand. Rovi also sells guide data and develops media guides for other industries, including TV makers and other consumer electronics companies. (See Macrovision Resets as 'Rovi'.)

Rovi said it was leaving the J.V. behind so it could focus on products and efforts that are more under its control.

As Rovi assessed its options, "we realized that much has changed in the market since the formation of GuideWorks and as a result, we believe that now is an appropriate time to exit the venture, and realign our portfolio and investments towards solutions we have direct control over and can use across a broad set of platforms and markets," Rovi president and CEO Fred Amoroso said, in a statement.

Rovi said it will continue to distribute i-Guide and provide product updates to current customers. The next "major" iGuide release is expected out sometime in 2011.

Financial terms of the new arrangement weren't disclosed (we've asked), but Comcast will still have access to Rovi's key IPG patents and metadata, as well as some newer cross-platform navigation technologies.

"GuideWorks has and will continue to develop interactive program guides for Comcast," a spokeswoman said via email.

The decision by Rovi to part ways with the Comcast J.V. gives the MSO absolute control of GuideWorks and its product development efforts. The move is also indicative of a broader video software strategy at the operator that is seeing more and more work originate in-house.

Last year, Cox Communications Inc. dissolved its interest in TVWorks LLC, an interactive television (ITV) joint venture that Cox and Comcast originally formed in April 2005. (See Cox Severs Ties to TVWorks.)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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