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Dish Award Pushes TiVo To Q3 Profit

Digital-video recorder supplier TiVo reported a record profit for the third quarter which ended Oct. 31, 2008 of $100.6 million, but that was based mainly on the $105 million in damages the company received from satellite operator Dish Network and its set-top supplier EchoStar Corp. relating to patent litigation.

Without the Dish/EchoStar damages award, the company would have posted a loss of $900,000. Last year, the Alviso, Calif.-based firm recorded a loss of $8.3 million for the same period. TiVo's initial guidance for the quarter had predicted a net loss of $7 to $9 million.

Net revenues for the quarter were $64.5 million, compared to $75.6 million last year. Service and technology revenues were $51.7 million, compared with $58.3 million for the same period last year.

TiVo president and CEO Tom Rogers said on the earnings conference call that he was optimistic about the next phase of the litigation with EchoStar that comes in February, when a U.S. district court judge will consider TiVo’s request to find EchoStar in contempt for not disabling its DVR devices to not infringe on TiVo’s “time-warp patent.”

Moreover, Rogers touted TiVo’s fiscal restraint and cost-cutting, including the planned elimination of 7% of its workforce and tight inventory control, in the midst of the current financial crisis. He noted that TiVo is sitting on over $200 million in cash and short-term investments and has no debt.

“We like our financial profile right now, and we want to emphasize that point,” said Rogers.

While TiVo pointed to progress in rolling out its DVR software with multichannel operators Comcast, Cox and DirecTV, it did caution that the current economic downturn may affect retail sales of its own DVR devices.

“The issue of what is going to happen to holiday sales is a big question mark given the macroeconomic environment,” said Rogers, who expects that “the HDTV trend will not be as robust.”

TiVo-owned subscription gross additions for the third quarter were approximately 44,000, compared to 69,000 gross additions for the year-ago period. Overall, TiVo-owned subscriptions ended the quarter at approximately 1.7 million. The company has 3.5 million overall DVR subscribers, counting multichannel partners.

For the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009, TiVo forecasts service and technology revenues in the range of $47 million to $49 million and a net loss in the range of $10 million to $12 million. It cautioned that legal costs will rise in preparation for the February trial.