TiVo's Loss Narrows as Subscriptions Rise

Times Staff Writer

TiVo Inc. said Thursday that its fourth-quarter loss narrowed 22% as subscription and licensing revenue doubled and marketing costs plummeted.

The San Jose company, a pioneer in the field of digital video recording, reported a loss of $32.5 million, or 56 cents a share, for the three months ended Jan. 31, despite marking its first quarter of positive cash flow. It lost $41.6 million, or 92 cents, in the same period last year.

For the full 2003 fiscal year, TiVo reported a nearly 50% reduction in losses on the strength of sharply higher revenue and significantly lower marketing costs.

The company lost $82 million, or $1.61 a share, compared with a loss of $161 million, or $3.74, in its 2002 fiscal year.

TiVo reported a modest increase in the number of new customers subscribing to its service, which records television programs on a hard disk and enables viewers to pause live broadcasts.

Its subscriber rolls grew by 245,000 during the fiscal year, compared with 226,000 new customers added in fiscal 2002.

In a conference call with analysts, Chief Executive Mike Ramsey predicted a much higher growth rate for the coming year, with the customer base increasing to more than 1 million from 624,000.

In the fourth quarter, the larger number of customers and higher fees for monthly or lifetime subscriptions led to a nearly 70% increase in TiVo's service revenues, to $11.4 million.

More than half of TiVo's loss in the most recent quarter stemmed from its effort to reduce debt by converting some bonds to stock.

Excluding nearly $18 million in noncash charges, TiVo's loss would have been $14.7 million in the quarter, or 25 cents a share.

TiVo shares rose 14 cents to $6.29 in regular Nasdaq trading Thursday before the results were announced. Shares rose an additional 17 cents, to $6.46, in after-hours trading.

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