Rovi Drops Fan TV Set-Top

During their quarterly call with analysts, Rovi executives were enthusiastic about the company's fourth quarter. If there was any downside in that, it was that the call was about the company's performance in its recently concluded third quarter, which featured little to get excited about.

The company's third-quarter revenue was down 11% compared to the same period the previous year, leading to a loss of $18.5 million, almost triple the $6.6 million loss in the third quarter of 2014.

Not part of the third-quarter reporting was news that Rovi-owned Fan TV stopped selling its set-top boxes, and that Time Warner Cable will cease supporting the Fan TV service next month. Fan TV will offer customers a Nexus Player, which runs the Fan TV app, according to Variety, which published the story.

Rovi Corp. identified two big blows during its third quarter. A consumer electronics customer was "out of contract" for the entire quarter. CEO Tom Carson said Rovi expects this customer to return to its contractual obligations in the fourth quarter. Should that happen, the customer will end up covering Rovi for the shortfall in Q3.

The other shot to Q3 revenue was tied to lower shipments by a set-top box (STB) customer.

Rovi execs declined to identify either customer. The STB customer might have been Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS), which now presides over the old Motorola line of set-tops, which all ran Rovi. Arris also reported last night.

Rovi is in the process of renegotiating elapsing IP licensing agreements with a number of service providers. The company had renewals with Charter Communications, Comcast and Dish Network in its pocket, and in recent weeks it renewed with Time Warner Communications and with Sky in Europe.

Carson said the new deal with Time Warner Cable is good through the end of this year. That's an extremely short term for a licensing contract, but TWC anticipates its acquisition by Charter will close by the end of this year, so there might be no point to a long-term extension.

Carson said discussions about extensions with three other Tier 1 customers are ongoing. Rovi did not identify those three customers. In the past, the company has ranked DirecTV among its licensees.

— Brian Santo, Senior Editor, Components, T&M, Light Reading

inkstainedwretch 10/29/2015 | 11:49:47 AM
Rovi confirmation Rovi responded to my query last night (a spokesman from Rovi was working after quitting time. Thanks to that person). Rovi confirmed it has stopped providing hardware for FanTV, and said:

"To shed light on why we are putting our focus squarely on software now, it's important to note that Fan TV has always been hardware-agnostic. We built a "full stack" solution as an option to deliver Fan TV with the best overall experience including a button-less remote that people love. Going forward, we will also be embracing a variety of hardware models to get our software in front of as wide an audience as possible.

 "In terms of our growing software offering, Fan TV is now on iOS, Android Mobile, Android TV and the web. Within Rovi, Fan TV is increasingly being developed and marketed alongside Rovi's other next-generation products like Rovi Search, Recommendations, and Conversation. Global service providers can either take the full Fan TV solution, or buy modular features (delivered via APIs) to incorporate into their own in-house offerings."    -- Brian Santo
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