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TiVo beats estimates; subscribers spike

The company, whose service allows television programs to be recorded digitally, increases its subscribers from 73,000 to 136,000.

TiVo, whose service allows people to record television programs sans videotape, beat analyst expectations for the fourth quarter.

The San Jose, Calif.-based company reported Tuesday a net loss of $89.2 million, or $2.19 per share, for the fourth quarter. A consensus of analysts expected TiVo to lose $2.64 per share, according to First Call. Revenue came in at $1.4 million.

In the same period a year earlier, the company had a loss of $34.8 million, or $1.03 per share, on revenue of $182,000.

The digital video recorder company's subscribers increased in the fourth quarter from 73,000 to 136,000.

"Our investments in marketing have made TiVo synonymous with digital video recorders," TiVo CEO Michael Ramsey said on a conference call. But he added that the company will reduce its expenses for marketing in 2001.

TiVo also plans to create more partnerships to bring in extra revenue in 2001. The company will look to television networks, advertisers and content providers to become partners. In the past week, TiVo announced an advertising partnership with Miller Brewing Company and a content-provider partnership with AtomFilms.

Subscriptions make up the "dominant" part of revenue, Ramsay said. He wants subscriptions and partnerships to bring in equal amounts of revenue in the future.

During the conference call, company representatives would not say when they expect TiVo to reach profitability.

TiVo's main rival, ReplayTV, announced in November that it would stop selling its own brand of digital video recorders and would instead concentrate on licensing its service to cable providers and other television-related companies. Since ReplayTV's announcement, TiVo's stock price has steadily dropped.

Digital video recorders are set-top boxes with hard drives that allow people to record programs without using videotape. Viewers can also replay live television and program the box to anticipate and record shows that might interest them, based on previous selections.

Multimedia Research Group released a report Monday indicating that the set-top box and digital services markets will exceed $54 billion annually by 2004.