Rovi Preaches Patience on Comcast Row, Dish Renewal Talks

But absence of licensing deal with Comcast takes bite out of Q2 results
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Rovi is in a patent battle with Comcast and its set-top suppliers, and Rovi intends to pursue that path to the bitter end.

“Our litigation continues and we plan to pursue it to conclusion, or until Comcast takes an appropriate license,” Tom Carson, Rovi’s president and CEO, said Thursday during the company’s Q2 earnings call.

Rovi, which has deals done or renewed with eight of the top 10 U.S. pay TV providers, is still working on a renewal deal with Dish Network, which is using Rovi’s technology to power a new voice remote.

Carson said such negotiations are “complex” and “take time and patience,” noting that Sony and Verizon were out of license for periods before Rovi was able to get a deal done under the “right terms.”

“I believe these examples highlight our commitment to getting the right deals for Rovi, even it if means we’re out of license for a period of time,” Carson said.

As the Comcast row goes, Carson said the case is proceeding and expects the hearing before the International Trade Commission to start in late December alongside an expectation that the first trial in the Eastern District of Texas to start toward the end of 2017.

In the meantime, the lack of a Comcast intellectual licensing agreement is impacting financial results. Rovi said Q2 revenues excluded a $5 million drop in revenues from Comcast primarily due to advertising and TV Everywhere IP licensing revenues. Rovi noted that it does recognize revenues from Comcast via its relationship on the product side around data.

For Q2, Rovi posted revenues of $125 million, down 2%, and a net loss of $9.4 million, versus $3.3 million of net income in the year-ago quarter.

Rovi said there’s no change in its stand-alone basis 2016 expectations, still expecting fiscal year 2016 revenue of $490 million to $520 million with GAAP (loss) income before taxes of $(21.3) million to $4.7 million and Non-GAAP Pre-tax Income of $130.0 million to $156.0 million.

Rovi said it’s making progress on its proposed $1.1 billion acquisition of TiVo, noting that the Federal Trade Commission and the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice granted early termination of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act. Rovi expects to close the deal in Q3.

Elsewhere, Rovi said it recently launched a version of its Fan TV for iOS, Android and Android TV with voice search.