May 24, 2001 6:25 PM PDT

TiVo's revenue grows sixfold

Digital video recording company TiVo reported a narrower-than-expected loss Thursday and a sixfold increase in revenue for its fiscal first quarter.

TiVo lost $50.2 million, or $1.20 per share, on revenue of $3.2 million. A consensus of analysts had expected a loss of $1.23 per share, according to First Call.

In the same quarter last year, the company reported a loss of $23 million, or 66 cents per share, on revenue of $499,000.

In its first quarter, TiVo said, it signed up 35,000 new subscribers, bringing the total to more than 200,000. Its quarter ended April 30.

"In five months we've doubled our subscriber base, which is a great sign of growth," TiVo Chief Executive Mike Ramsay said during a conference call. "And we've done this despite the entry of Microsoft."

Microsoft launched its UltimateTV service earlier this year. Digital video recording is one of its main features.

The company reiterated guidance for the current quarter, although Ramsey said subscriber growth will be flat. He noted that this is the softest time of the year for retail. Before consumers can subscribe to TiVo's service, they must purchase a digital video recorder from Sony or Philips.

Sony and Philips plan to rebate their standalone DVRs with 20-hour record times to $199, which Ramsay said is a "magic number in consumer electronics sales." The discounted prices, which are expected during TiVo's current quarter, could boost sales, he said.

Ramsay added that licensing fees generated by a new patent will help the company to break even during its next fiscal year, which starts in February.

Chief Technology Officer Jim Barton described the patent as "pretty broad," noting that it relates to the playback capability, which is core to all DVRs.

"Legal action will only be part" of how the company will be able to capitalize on the new patent, Barton said, and licensing will be the significant contributor.

"We're interested in licensing because growing the market will take an effort by everyone working on it," Barton said.

Barton added that Microsoft "may be infringing" on the patent and that TiVo is looking into it.

The company's stock closed up $3.56, or 72 percent, to $8.50. The stock reached $9.08 in after-hours trading, according to Island ECN.


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