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Gemstar revs dip

Accounting charge creates loss

Gemstar TV Guide said a hefty one-time accounting charge led to a $207 million loss for the first quarter as revenue dipped 13% to $297 million.

Gemstar, which is 42% owned by News Corp., is a leader in interactive program guides it hopes will be crucial road maps for consumers as TV channels proliferate in the digital era. But the company has been floundering, and shares plummeted last month after complex accounting spooked investors. The stock decline forced News Corp. to take a $4 billion writedown earlier this week.

Chairman Rupert Murdoch recently installed former Fox exec Jeff Shell as chief operating officer. During a conference call Wednesday, Shell said he’s “already making headway in rebuilding and expanding” relationships with cable and satellite operators that Gemstar needs to carry its program guides and enhance them with new technology.

Shell also is focusing on expanding the well-known TV Guide brand.

Excluding the accounting charge to write down good will, Gemstar’s losses narrowed to $20 million from $123 million.

Gemstar also announced ventures with Thomson and Nielsen Media Research.