Loss shrinks, sign-ups grow for TiVo

The digital video recording pioneer posts a narrower-than-expected loss of $7.4 million, as its subscriber numbers continue to increase.

Richard Shim
Richard Shim Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Richard Shim
writes about gadgets big and small.
2 min read
TiVo reported a narrower-than-expected third-quarter loss Thursday and said it now expects to sign up more members before the end of the year than it had predicted.

The digital video recording service company said it lost $7.4 million, or 11 cents per share, on revenue of $43.3 million for the third quarter of fiscal 2004, which ended Oct. 31. Analysts were expecting a loss of 16 cents per share, according to a survey First Call conducted.

In the same period a year ago, TiVo posted a loss of $11.5 million, or 23 cents per share, on revenue of $25 million.

"Today, the (digital video recorder) category is at an inflection point, and demand for TiVo is enabling us to take advantage of this growing momentum," TiVo's chief executive, Mike Ramsay, said in a statement. "Our total (subscriber) base is now over 1 million, and the pace of (subscriber) growth moving into the holiday season is at an all-time high."

TiVo added 209,000 members in the third quarter, for a total of just more than a million subscribers--a mark many analysts say is as an indication that a product has established itself in the consumer electronics market.

The San Jose, Calif.-based company also boosted its guidance for subscription growth for the current fourth quarter. It expects to add 325,000 to 375,000 subscriptions for the quarter ending Jan. 31. That would bring the total number of subscribers to TiVo's service to 1,377,000--up from 1,274,000.

TiVo earns most of its revenue from subscription fees for its DVR service, which allows viewers to pause live shows, preprogram shows to record and to recommend shows viewers might enjoy, based on previous selections.

The company has been transforming itself from a service company to a licensing company and has signed deals with the likes of Sony, Toshiba and Pioneer.

Ramsay announced that Humax, a maker of set-top boxes, had signed up as a new TiVo licensee. Details of the relationship would be made public at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show in January, he said.

Looking at the market, the CEO said there has been a "marked change in the attention that cable (operators) are giving to digital video recorders." He put that change down partly to the success that satellite service carriers have been experiencing with DVR.

Of TiVo's 209,000 new subscribers in the third quarter, about 150,000 came from satellite company DirecTV, with the remaining 59,000 coming from buyers of standalone recorders.

The DVR company expects to add 1 million to 1.2 million subscriptions in its next fiscal year, for an approximate total of 2.5 million subscribers. Revenue from service and technology are expected to be between $90 million to $100 million.

TiVo shares closed Thursday up 49 cents, or about 5.5 percent, to $9.38. In after-hours trading, TiVo shares were down 90 cents, or about 9.6 percent, to $8.48.