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TiVo posts Q2 loss on subscriber churn

Thu, 08/27/2009 - 8:25am
Brian Santo

ALVISO, Calif. (AP) – TiVo Inc. on Wednesday reported a loss for the second quarter as revenue fell 12 percent on fewer subscriptions, but results still topped Wall Street expectations.

TiVo’s direct retail sales have been slowing for more than a year. Meanwhile, it has been trying to sell directly to more service providers. In that effort, it’s had some success, adding RCN to a customer roster that includes DirecTV, Cablevision Mexico, Seven (Australia) and Comcast among its customers.

The bad news is that the company is continuing to lose subscribers among those customers, in a category that TiVo calls “MSO/Broadcaster.” Those losses have been gradually decreasing, from 135,000 a year ago, to 104,000 in the quarter just concluded.

As a strategy, shifting an emphasis from retail to MSO/Broadcasters is not yet a clear success. Acquisition costs through retail are high, but are negligible through MSOs. On the other hand, TiVo’s ARPU for retail customers has been in the $7-$8 range, while its ARPU for MSO subscriptions has been about $1.

Separately, the company filed lawsuits against AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. for patent infringement, including one covering the ability to pause and rewind live TV. TiVo, a maker of digital video recorders that also licenses its technology to other companies, also received a minor setback in a similar lawsuit against Dish Network Corp.

In the quarter, TiVo lost $2.94 million, or 3 cents per share, compared with year-ago profit of $2.92 million, or 3 cents per share.

Revenue slipped to $57.4 million from $65.2 million, as service and hardware revenues declined. Of total revenue, service and technology fees represented $48.8 million.

The company's TiVo-owned subscription gross additions for the second quarter were about 31,000, down from 36,000 in the year-ago period. Overall, TiVo-owned subscriptions ended the quarter at 1.58 million, down from 1.69 million in the 2008 period as cash-strapped consumers cut back on premium services.

Total subscriptions at July 31 were 3.05 million, compared with 3.62 million a year earlier.

"This was a solid quarter for TiVo as we posted our eighth-straight quarter of Adjusted EBITDA profitability, exceeding guidance," said Tom Rogers, president and CEO of TiVo. "We made significant progress on developing partnerships that enable us to access previously untapped distribution opportunities, announcing important deals with RCN and Best Buy. Our audience research and measurement business continues to prove why it will be a model that supports the future of the television advertising world as we launched local markets ratings and announced an important partnership with Quantcast, providing the first combined view of television and web viewing in the home. Finally, our intellectual property was validated yet again as EchoStar was found to be in contempt in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Texas."

Results still trumped analysts' forecast for a loss of 5 cents per share and $48.6 million in revenue, according to Thomson Reuters.

Looking ahead, though, TiVo forecast a third-quarter loss of $8 million to $10 million, and service and technology revenue of $46 million to $48 million. Analysts are expecting a smaller loss of $5.3 million and revenue of $48.3 million, on average.

Shares of Alviso, Calif.-based TiVo fell 5 cents to close earlier at $10.50.

More Broadband Direct 08/27/09:
•  Verizon, TWC launching Internet TV trials
•  TiVo posts Q2 loss on subscriber churn
•  TiVo Inc. sues AT&T, Verizon over DVR patents
•  Cox brings new interface to New England systems
•  Videotron gets millionth digital sub
•  ABI: Carriers warming up to Wi-Fi
•  Broadband Briefs for 08/27/09

 

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