TiVo sees profit for 2008

Company posts earnings of $104 million

Even without the money it collected because of a patent-infringement lawsuit, TiVo notched the first profitable fiscal year in its history.

The company earned $104 million on the year, or $300,000 without the cash that EchoStar was required to pay.

In its fourth fiscal quarter, TiVo's net loss was $3.6 million, well below the company's own forecast of up to a $12 million loss. In the same quarter last year, TiVo lost $6.4 million. Revenue fell 20% to $59.2 million.

Earnings beat Wall Street expectations, and TiVo provided decent guidance, so shares soared as much as 10% in after-hours trading after having dropped 7% to $6.60 during the regular session.

On a conference call with analysts, CEO Tom Rogers did his best to convince analysts and consumers that TiVo is akin to the "great American entertainment bailout."

TiVo subscribers, he said, are saving money by renting cable cards instead of set-top boxes and via the VOD partnerships that TiVo has with Netflix and Amazon.com.

"TiVo makes sense now for their wallets," he said of consumers.

Perhaps, but the company is still losing subscribers at a healthy clip, as it has been for several years. TiVo ended its fiscal fourth quarter with 3.3 million subscribers, almost 16% fewer than it had a year ago.

TiVo is still awaiting a judge's decision as to whether Dish will need to disable some of its DVRs and/or pay TiVo more money related to the ongoing legal squabble, and Rogers said the decision could boost TiVo's efforts to line up other distribution partners. TiVo already is partnered with DirecTV, Comcast and Cox.