NEW YORK (CNNfn) - NBC and Gemstar International Group Ltd. announced an agreement Thursday under which the companies will develop and promote interactive program guides for televisions.
The move extends NBC's move into offering interactive services. Interactive program guides, or on-screen TV listings, have become a more attractive option to media companies as the world of 500 channels becomes increasingly popular.
Under terms of the deal, NBC will buy a 5 percent equity stake in TDN, a joint venture of Gemstar and Thomson Consumer Electronics. Financial details weren't disclosed.
TDN develops advertising and content for Gemstar's Guide Plus+ Gold, an interactive program guide that will be used in televisions, VCRs and direct broadcast satellite systems.
NBC, a unit of General Electric Co. (GE), said it will provide data bandwidth in its television signal to support on-demand Guide Plus+ data services.
In return for its investment, NBC and its cable channels, MSNBC and CNBC, will receive featured placement on Guide Plus+. NBC also said it will provide news and other content for the guide, and support a multimillion dollar national advertising campaign to promote Guide Plus+ and its services.
Gemstar, which makes the VCR Plus+ home video recording system, and NBC said they will develop other products and services for television viewers.
Separately, Gemstar said Thursday it has rejected a $2.8 billion takeover bid from United Video Satellite Group Inc., which is controlled by cable giant Tele-Communications Inc. (TCOMA).
Gemstar had expressed concerns as to whether a merged company, with influence from TCI, would be capable of dealing "neutrally" with cable companies that TCI competes against.
The company also questioned whether United Video can come up with the needed financing, and whether the bid can win regulatory approval in light of its recent $2 billion acquisition of News Corp.'s TV Guide.
United Video (UVSGA) provides the Prevue Channel, which sends on-screen TV listings to more than 50 million homes.
Gemstar (GMSTF) shares gained 1-1/4 to 43-3/8 in early trading.