Gemstar-TV Guide International – a company which creates interactive TV program guides (IPGs) – yesterday announced an advertising deal with auto giant Ford Motor Company and its ad agency J Walter Thompson (Detroit).

The 18-month partnership – whose financial details have not been disclosed – will give Ford a quarterly ad schedule running to the end of Q3 2002, and includes the use of new IPG technology yet to be unveiled by Gemstar.

The TV guide company provides listings for programs, which can be viewed and organised according to categories such as time, channel or subject matter. Alongside the listings appear ads, which viewers can select using their remote control in order to receive further information on the product.

Gemstar – which reaches twelve million US households – has been keen to establish itself as a viable advertising medium, competing with broadband, cable TV and online ads. Enthused the firm’s president of media sales Jeffrey Mahl: “When an industry leader such as Ford makes such a major commitment to a new media platform, it is testimony that the IPG platform has achieved critical mass and is on its way to full acceptance by the advertising community.”

The deal represents the first long-term alliance forged by Gemstar with a motor company, and Ford’s largest advertising venture so far into the digital TV convergence sector.

News source: New York Times