Los Angeles — Increased subscriber and licensing revenues at TV Guide Interactive helped boost first-quarter sales at the cable and satellite segment of interactive program guide services and products company Gemstar-TV Guide International, with cable and satellite segment revenue climbing to $64.8 million, up 53.8 percent from the $42.1 million recorded in the year-ago three months.
The increase in segment revenue was mainly due to increased subscriber and licensing revenue, of $13.9 million, at TV Guide Interactive in the first quarter, ended March 31, while advertising revenue at the TV Guide Channel climbed $5.6 million and increased wagering and licensing revenue pushed revenue at TV Games up $2.8 million.
In the first quarter, adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for the cable and satellite segment reached $20.3 million, up from $14.9 million in the prior year’s first three months. The increase was due to a $22.7 million revenue increase, offset by $8.6 million of increases in marketing, sales and promotional expenses and a $2.2 million compensation expense increase.
The consumer electronics licensing segment at Gemstar-TV Guide saw revenue drop 46.4 percent in the first quarter, down to $28.3 million from a year-on-year $52.7 million. The decrease was due primarily to the absence of $22.9 million in settlements from certain CE makers and DBS licensing revenues. This, along with a decline in VCR Plus+ revenue of $4.3 million, was partially offset by increases in licensing revenue from incorporating its Guide Plus+ technology of $1.9 million.
Since the first quarter of 2004, Gemstar ceased recording any significant amount of DBS licensing revenue, as the company’s agreement with DirecTV to pay recurring license fees, based initially on new subscribers, replaced manufacturers’ per-unit license fees.
Adjusted EBITDA for the CE licensing segment was $13.5 million in the first quarter, down from $32.3 million in the first three months a year earlier. The decrease was primarily related to a $24.4 million revenue decline and a $1.5 million increase in compensation expense, offset by a $7.7 million reduction in legal expense.
Consolidated Gemstar-TV Guide first quarter revenue decreased to $175.4 million, from a year-earlier $193.2 million. The first three months of 2004 included settlement payments of $19.4 million from certain CE manufacturers.
Consolidated operating income for the first quarter hit $3.3 million, compared with a year-ago $26.6 million. This year’s first three months included charges of $7.2 million, while the year-earlier quarter included charges of $8.8 million and settlements of $19.4 million.
Consolidated net loss for the first quarter was reduced to $3.7 million, down from a net loss of $39.8 million year-over-year.