TiVo CEO Sees Retaining Virgin Media Account After Buyout

TiVo Inc., the developer of digital-video recorders, expects no change in its relationship with Virgin Media Inc. after the U.K. cable operator is bought by a competitor that’s introduced its own set-top box.

“Virgin is doing dramatically well with TiVo,” adding about 1.4 million customers last year, TiVo Chief Executive Officer Tom Rogers said yesterday in an interview.

Rogers said he sees no disruption in the relationship with Virgin Media, the cable company that John Malone’s Liberty Global Inc. plans to buy for $16 billion in cash and stock in a deal announced on Feb. 6. TiVo has rapidly expanded business with pay-TV operators after favorable court rulings upheld key patents, Rogers said.

Rogers spoke after TiVo, based in Alviso, California, reported fourth-quarter revenue that beat analysts’ expectations. The loss was wider than analysts estimated because of higher-than-expected legal costs, he said.

The digital-recording pioneer widened margins in 2012 by selling advanced set-top boxes with more storage and the ability to record several shows at once. TiVo is transforming itself from a video-recorder provider into one that can shift content around the home and on the go, Rogers said.

“We’ve extended the story to whole-home and multi-device services,” Rogers said. “The traction we’re getting with operators speaks to that, and we have a good deal of innovation coming this year.”

Web Viewing

Liberty Global, based in Englewood, Colorado, and operating in European markets, introduced its own Web-enabled set-top box in 2012, Horizon TV. The company plans to expand the product, now in Holland and Switzerland, to Ireland and Germany, CEO Michael Fries said on a Feb. 14 conference call.

TiVo’s net loss widened to $15.8 million, or 13 cents a share, in the period ended Jan. 31, from a loss of $7.2 million, or 6 cents, a year earlier, according to a statement yesterday. Analysts had projected a loss of 12 cents, the average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Revenue grew 34 percent to $88.9 million. That exceeded analysts’ projections of $84.4 million, the average of 11 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

TiVo rose as much as 2.6 percent to $12.74 in extended trading yesterday. The shares added 1.5 percent to $12.42 at the close in New York, and have advanced 1 percent this year.

The company added 209,000 subscribers in the quarter, down 11 percent from 234,000 added a year ago, ending the year with more than 3.1 million. TiVo is pursuing patent infringement litigation against Google Inc.’s Motorola Mobility and Cisco Systems Inc. over use of recording technology in the set-top boxes they make. Time Warner Cable Inc. is a defendant in both cases.

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