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Gemstar-TV Guide Q4 Platform Revenue Drops

Pasadena, Calif. — A revenue decrease of $2.8 million at TV Guide Interactive was among the factors influencing a fourth quarter revenue drop of 12.8 percent for Gemstar-TV Guide International’s interactive platform sector, also known as the cable and satellite segment.

Cable and satellite segment revenue decreased to $84.2 million in the fourth quarter, from $96.6 million in the year-ago period, while adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) decreased to $25.2 million in the final three months of 2003, compared with $41.1 million in the year-ago period.

The decrease in TV Guide Interactive revenue was primarily due to a decrease in advertising revenue. TV Guide Interactive added more than 400,000 subscribers during the last three months of 2003.

Revenue in the consumer electronics licensing segment at Gemstar-TV Guide was essentially flat, compared with the same three months a year earlier, coming in at $24.9 million, up from $24.8 million year-on-year. However, adjusted EBITDA for the segment moved into the black in the fourth quarter, hitting $5.2 million, compared with negative EBITDA of $6.1 million in the same three months a year ago. The increase was primarily attributable to a decrease in bad debt expense and lower legal expenses.

Year-end cable and satellite segment revenue slid to $338.8 million from $406 million, while consumer electronics licensing segment revenue dipped to $113.9 million in the 12 months, from $120.2 million year-on-year.

Consolidated fourth quarter revenue slipped 11.3 percent, down to $217.1 million, from $244.7 million in the same three months in 2002.

Operating loss in the fourth quarter reached $501.5 million, including charges of $433 million, compared with a year-ago fourth quarter operating loss of $1.2 billion, which included charges of about $1.2 billion.

The company recorded a fourth quarter net loss of $491.4 million, down from a net loss of $1.3 billion in the same period the previous year. This year’s fourth quarter loss included charges of $491.5 million, while last year’s fourth quarter included charges of $1.1 billion.

Consolidated revenue in 2003 dropped by 12.3 percent to $878.7 million, down from $1 billion in 2002. The company reported a net loss of $577.4 million for the 12 months, compared with a net loss of $6.4 billion for all of 2002.

In other news from Gemstar, the company has made an agreement with EchoStar that includes a long-term, non-exclusive patent license allowing EchoStar to utilize Gemstar’s intellectual property and technology, as well as the TV Guide brand and content, on its Interactive Program Guides. As part of this agreement and others, EchoStar will pay Gemstar about $238 million in a one-time cash payment. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter.