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News summary for 8/30/07

Thu, 08/30/2007 - 9:38am
CED staff

Comcast plans to move TiVo software to SA boxes
By Traci Patterson

TiVo said that Comcast has “agreed to fund significant additional development work to bring the TiVo service to other Comcast platforms, including Scientific Atlanta set-top boxes.”

This will further develop the TiVo on Comcast service, which the two companies have been delaying for quite some time now, and increase the distribution opportunities that TiVo will have available, the company said.

TiVo, in its Q2 report, quoted Comcast saying, “We will commence the TiVo rollout process shortly, which [we] will continue rolling out throughout the fall in Comcast's New England Division, including metro Boston, Southeast Massachusetts and New Hampshire.”

TiVo posts significant Q2 loss, adds new offerings
By Traci Patterson

TiVo Inc. reported a net loss of $17.7 million in Q2, ended July 31, an increase of 172 percent year-on-year.

Service and technology revenues increased 7 percent to $56.5 million in the quarter. Service revenues were $53.4 million, an increase of 8 percent compared with $49.4 million a year ago; technology revenues were $3.1 million, down 9 percent from $3.4 million in the year-ago quarter.

TiVo-owned subscription gross additions for the second quarter were 41,000 - compared with 74,000 a year ago. The company said its additions continue to be “impacted by the pace at which retailers moved to a high definition sales focus.”

Overall, TiVo-owned subscriptions totaled 1.71 million, up 136,000 on an annual basis compared to the year-ago period. Cumulative total subscriptions totaled 4.2 million.

During the quarter, DirecTV and TiVo announced a deal to develop a software upgrade for DirecTV DVR users with TiVo service. TiVo also launched a lower-priced HD DVR, which hit retail stores last week. And during Q2, the “Buy on Box” capability for the Amazon Unbox service was released.

“We made significant progress over the past six months on several areas of our business that we believe will positively impact the growth prospects of TiVo,” said TiVo CEO Tom Rogers.

TiVo’s net loss included a combined inventory write-down and inventory purchase commitment charge of $11.2 million, the company said, relating primarily to long-lead time dual-tuner Series2 SD DVR inventory. The $11.2 million loss was not anticipated when the company stated its fiscal 2008 adjusted EBITDA goal, but TiVo said “the goal remains in place.”

During the quarter, TiVo added Clent Richardson as CMO and Karen Bressner as the head of advertising sales.

Insight, BTN reach carriage agreement
By Traci Patterson

Insight Communications has reached an agreement with the Big Ten Network (BTN) to carry the sports channel. The service will be available to approximately 640,000 Insight customers.

The operator will carry BTN on its Classic service in Columbus, Ohio, and Evansville, Ind. Insight will also carry the channel on its digital platform in all of its Kentucky systems, which include Louisville, northern Kentucky, Lexington and Bowling Green.

BTN launches today, offering fans 39 football games, 140 regular-season basketball games, more than 55 women’s basketball games and the Big Ten Championships. The channel will also offer soccer, field hockey, volleyball, baseball and wrestling coverage, as well as all of the other NCAA championship sports.

Comcast continues to deny BTN a cable channel (see story), saying it will not burden its consumers, especially ones not interested in Big Ten sports, with a $13 Big Ten tax.

Comcast is willing to make the network part of its Sports Entertainment Package, but BTN wants to be an expanded basic channel.

OpenTV shuffles CEOs 
By Mike Robuck

OpenTV announced late yesterday that Alan Guggenheim, 57, stepped down as president and CEO of the company for personal reasons.

Ben Bennett was named as the acting CEO and appointed to the newly-created position of chief operating officer. Bennett was formerly senior vice president, customer operations for OpenTV. The board also named Mauro Saladini as a new director of OpenTV.

"Ben is a highly regarded and experienced OpenTV executive who has a clear view of the company's potential as well as outstanding relationships both within OpenTV and externally with customers and partners around the world,” said Andre Kudelski, executive chairman of OpenTV, in a prepared statement. “We look forward to Ben's contributions as he steps into this expanded role, and we also are delighted to welcome Mauro's keen insights as a member of our board."

Bennett, with OpenTV since March 2000, has served as managing director for OpenTV's European Operations, overseeing operations and relationships with European network operators, broadcasters, and set-top box and conditional access manufacturers.

Bennett also served as senior vice president and general manager of OpenTV's Worldwide Professional Services, Consulting and Support group, managing the company's product deployment and integration teams in the U.S., Europe, and Asia Pacific. He also held senior management positions at Logica and British Telecom.

In 2006, Liberty Media Group sold OpenTV to Kudelski Group SA. San Francisco-based OpenTV said its software has been integrated in more than 92 million digital set-top boxes and digital televisions around the world.

Ciena rolls to third quarter profit 
By Mike Robuck

Ciena posted third quarter profits during today’s earnings report that were driven by demand for the company’s optical and Ethernet network gear.

Ciena posted third quarter earnings of $28.3 million, after reporting a loss of $4.3 million a year ago. Revenue for the third quarter totaled $205 million, representing a 5.9 percent sequential increase from fiscal second quarter revenue of $193.5 million, and an increase of 34.4 percent over the same period a year ago when Ciena reported sales of $152.5 million.

For the nine months ended July 31, Ciena reported revenue of $563.6 million, representing an increase of 39.5 percent over revenue of $404.1 million for the same nine-month year-ago period.

"Consistent execution of our network specialist strategy has enabled Ciena to benefit from two significant industry trends: the demand for increasing network capacity and the transition to Ethernet/IP-based network infrastructures," said Gary Smith, Ciena president and CEO, in a statement. "At the same time, we continue to drive actions resulting in improved financial performance across the company."

Among the third quarter highlights, BT deployed Ciena’s optical Ethernet and switching products at more than 100 sites across the United Kingdom.

Cablevision Ethernet service targets media market
By Brian Santo

Cablevision Systems’ Optimum Lightpath operation has begun a new transport service aimed directly at any business that needs to transmit broadcast-quality video.

Called Broadcast Video Transport (BVT), the service carries video on Optimum Lightpath's Metro Ethernet network. It is aimed at media companies, including production facilities, broadcasters, television stations, content distributors and enterprises that have high-resolution broadcast quality video requirements.

The service supports compressed, uncompressed, analog, digital, and high-definition video applications, Cablevision said. BVT has MEF 9 and MEF 14 certification. Features include dedicated access termination; guaranteed bandwidth; quality of service; and network path protection with <50 ms resiliency.

Zayo to buy its fourth fiber network in six months
By Brian Santo

Zayo Bandwidth said it has signed an agreement to buy Indiana Fiber Works (IFW), in Indianapolis, Ind. In the past month, Zayo completed the acquisition of two other networks and announced the pending acquisition of a third.

The combination of the four networks will give Zayo a reach that extends through parts of the Northeast, Tennessee, Indiana, and Minnesota; it will represent $125 million of annual revenue and 8,400 route miles of fiber.

Zayo purchased the former PPL Telcom, a 4,600 fiber-route-mile network based in Allentown, Pa., which covers areas throughout the Northeast; and Memphis Networx, a 200 fiber-route-mile network serving the greater Memphis, Tenn. area. Both were acquired under Zayo Bandwidth's holding company name, Communications Infrastructure Investments (CII). Zayo also has definitive agreements to acquire Onvoy Inc., of Minneapolis, Minn.

Zayo is led by Dan Caruso and John Scarano, both formerly with ICG Communications and Level 3 Communications. Zayo Bandwidth has access to $225 million from several high-profile venture capital firms, including Columbia Capital, M/C Venture Partners, Oak Investment Partners, Battery Ventures and Centennial Ventures.

Broadband Briefs for 8/30/07

* APA names its board
By Brian Santo

APA Enterprises re-elected four directors to its board and elected two new members. The new members are Cheri Beranek Podzimek, who was named CEO of APA in June 2007; and Donald R. Hayward, president of Engel Diversified Industries (EDI). The four re-elected board members are: Ronald Roth, who was named chairman of the board in June 2007; Dr. Anil Jain; Jack Reddan; and Stephen Zuckerman, M.D.

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