Rovi, Delivery Agent Partner to Bring Contextual Tcommerce to EPG's

--Rovi Signs Multi-Year EPG Patent License Agreement with Cablevision, Releases Q4 Financial Results

EPG provider, Rovi, and tcommerce specialist, Delivery Agent, on Tuesday announced that they are partnering to launch the first-ever contextual commerce capability within Rovi EPG's for television programming. With this capability, the companies say, viewers will be able to buy products and services directly from the EPG, using their remote controls. The companies say that they are also planning to offer similar commerce capabilities to consumers who access their EPG's through the Web.

The new, "shoppable" EPG's--which are powered by Delivery Agent's interactive commerce engine, including its TV Wallet ordering and payment system and its proprietary database of products matched to television content--are slated to roll out next quarter, with initial campaigns planned for NBC shows such as "The Biggest Loser" and "The Office," and A&E Television Network series such as the History channel series, "Pawn Stars." In parallel with the launch of commerce capabilities that allow viewers interacting with the EPG to purchase products seen in and associated with related TV programming, Delivery Agent and Rovi plan to work together to offer EPG display advertisers the opportunity to add commerce elements to their advertising programs: the companies say that they will provide advertisers with a turnkey solution that includes designing, hosting and managing a fully branded commerce and transaction experience. "The electronic program guide is often the first point of contact a viewer has with a program on any given day and guide users visit the guide on average nine times daily," Jeff Siegel, Rovi's SVP of worldwide advertising sales, said in a prepared statement. "The ability to shop-enable our guide by dynamically mapping products to listings can open up new opportunities for media companies to reach a highly engaged and active consumer audience. We believe that our valued advertisers, from entertainment to consumer packaged goods to auto manufacturers, will also benefit from the integration of Delivery Agent's extensive suite of commerce tools." Added Delivery Agent CEO, Mike Fitzsimmons: "Delivery Agent's commerce platform, including its proprietary database of 1 million+ products seen in entertainment content, was built to close the gap between a consumer seeing a product on screen and a purchase opportunity. Today, through the collaboration with Rovi, and the deployment of shoppable program guides, we believe three audiences are better served: 1) consumers now have easier access to purchase contextually relevant product; 2) entertainment companies can monetize their branded content through the sale of products within the program guide environments; and 3) advertisers can commerce-enable their campaigns within the guide, giving consumers a more complete connection to their brand."

In other Rovi news:

  • The company said Tuesday that it has signed a multi-year agreement with Cablevision, under which the New York-area MSO will license Rovi EPG intellectual property. According to the company, the agreement provides Cablevision with a license to the Rovi EPG patent portfolio for next-generation set-top box, online and mobile platforms. "Increasingly, MSO's are offering their subscribers access to entertainment content that extends beyond the set-top box, across multiple devices," Samir Armaly, Rovi's SVP of worldwide licensing, said in a prepared statement. "The addition of Cablevision to our licensing program shows the value that today's MSO's see in providing their subscribers with content navigation via next-generation online and mobile platforms."
  • The company also released its fourth-quarter financial results Tuesday: Revenues totaled $140.2 million, compared to $137.1 million for the year-ago quarter; GAAP net income totaled $67.2 million, compared to $2.6 million for the year-ago quarter (note: the GAAP earnings included a $40.7 million income tax benefit in 2010, compared to a $22 million income tax expense in 2009); and non-GAAP Adjusted Pro Forma income totaled $59.7 million, or $0.54 per share, compared to $52 million, or $0.50 per share, for the year-ago quarter. However, Rovi's guidance for the current year disappointed investors, resulting in a decline in the company's share price in after-hours trading: "Consistent with the growth in the legacy Rovi business that we reiterated at our investor day in early January, and in combination with the revenue and earnings streams of Sonic Solutions [whose acquisition Rovi is set to close shortly], we expect our prospective Adjusted Pro Forma revenue including Sonic Solutions for the full calendar year 2011 to range between $775 million and $825 million," Rovi CFO, James Budge, said in a prepared statement. "Assuming a full calendar year 2011 impact from Sonic's earnings, we expect our 2011 prospective Adjusted Pro Forma income per common share including Sonic Solutions to range between $2.20 and $2.50, reflective of our recent term loan financing that was $250 million larger than we initially planned."


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