Rovi Wraps Fan TV Integration

Announces Metadata/Search Deals With Roku, Evolution
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Rovi completed the integration of Fan TV, the cloud-based video search and recommendations engine that came way of Rovi’s $12 million acquisition of Fanhattan last year, in the fourth quarter of 2014, Rovi president and CEO Thomas Carson said Thursday on the company’s earnings call.

Fan TV also makes an IP-based set-top and a button-less remote that is being sold through Time Warner Cable, the MSO that is in the process of being acquired by Comcast. Carson said Fan TV service deployments with TWC are continuing.

“The Fan TV system has garnered significant customer interest and the team is focused on acquiring additional TV accounts including select international opportunities,” Carson said.

On the other end, he said Rovi expects to have its metadata services bound to the Fan TV platform in the second half of this year.  

On the call, Carson also announced that the company has inked its first reseller agreements for its cloud-based services -- with both Roku and Evolution Digital. They are on board to license Rovi’s API-delivered metadata and search recommendations for guides in their respective devices and for service providers.

Rovi also offered a quick update on its pending litigation with Netflix. In November 2013, the International Trade Commission affirmed an earlier ruling that Netflix’s streaming software did not infringe on Rovi’s patents linked to interactive program guide technology, but Rovi vowed to keep the fight going in the U.S. District Court. Samir Armaly, Rovi’s EVP, intellectual property and licensing, noted that there will be a number of pre-trail actions happening in 2015.

On the financial front, Rovi posted a fourth quarter loss of 5.9 million (6 cents per share), on revenues of $134.2 million, down 12% from the year-ago period, which benefited from catch-up payments on a variety of new deals. Rovi also attributed the revenue dip in part to a decline in analog copy protection. Analysts were expecting revenues of $132.57 million.

Rovi ended the year with 1,200 full-time employees, including 280 based outside the U.S., according to its SEC filing. About 11.4 million U.S. pay TV subs and 6.9 million Canadian and Latin American pay-TV subs are receiving a Rovi-provided IPG, the company estimated.

Looking ahead, Rovi expects fiscal year 2015 revenues in the range of $535 million to $565 million, anticipating a ramping up of revenues from its recently acquired advanced search and recommendation and Fan TV products and its analytics business to ramp up in the second half of 2015.