Patent rich but subscriber poor is no way to get through life, TiVo (Nasdaq: TIVO ) .
The DVR pioneer posted another quarterly loss last night, fueled by even more net cancellations.
Service and technology revenue fell nearly 9% to $41.4 million, even though it was the company's first sequential uptick in six quarters. The carnage wasn't pretty on the bottom line where TiVo's deficit more than tripled to $0.30 a share. It's TiVo's ninth consecutive quarterly loss.
This would be easier to stomach if TiVo were actually gaining more couch potatoes than it's losing -- but it's not.
Lucy wants to be in the show, Ricky!
TiVo proudly proclaimed that the quarter's gross additions climbed 30% over the previous fiscal year's holiday quarter. Unfortunately for TiVo, Lucy Ricardo, and Ethel Mertz, cancellations are chocolate bonbons speeding down the conveyor belt. TiVo closed out the quarter with 55,000 fewer direct subscribers than it had three months ago -- and 199,000 less than it watched over when the fiscal year began.
TiVo continues to make strides with its patent-rich portfolio. It's getting closer to making EchoStar (Nasdaq: SATS ) pay for going all Frank-N-Furter on its Time Warp patent, and it has AT&T (NYSE: T ) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ ) in its litigious crosshairs. There are also several companies gunning for TiVo, but it seems as if the company has more to gain than lose in the courtroom.
Along the way, TiVo is trying to set its service apart from the growing assortment of home theater gadgetry.
"Consumers are now beginning to understand TiVo's differentiated product offering," CEO Tom Rogers notes in explaining the spurt in gross additions. It's a fair point, though it feels hollow when you're applauding the arrival of 60,000 new subscribers without discussing the exodus of 115,000 now former subscribers.
TiVo is now down to 1.266 million direct subscribers, and that includes 310,000 lifetime subs that definitely aren't kicking any more coin TiVo's way and they may or may not be fanatical about their usage.
You have to give TiVo some style points for striking promising technology licensing deals globally and using its data-mining prowess to market viewer behavior ratings to advertisers.
However, until TiVo can turn its subscriber count around or at least return to profitability there's not a lot to see here in live mode.
What will it take for TiVo to win back its mojo? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.