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TiVo's Earnings: New Strategy Appears To Pay Off

TiVo announced its earnings Wednesday, showing the results of its new, broader focus-- licensing its technology to cable companies, selling interactive TV ads and results of whether those ads are watched, and pushing forward with movie and music downloads. The good news--it narrowed its fourth quarter loss to six cents a share, from 20 cents in the year-ago quarter, and it lost less than analysts expected.

The bad news--it ended the year with 3.9 million subscribers who pay monthly fees, down half a million from last year. But that's because the company stopped giving away boxes, so it's actually not a bad thing.

Now the company's optimistic-- saying that deals with Comcast and Cox Communications, it expects to see a jump in subscribers. And the company is also building its business of reporting exactly (second-by-second) what people are watching. Omicom Media Group just signed up for the service, joining NBC Universal,CBS, Starcom USA, and Interpublic Group, among others.

And then there's TiVo's patent dispute with EchoStar Corp --TiVo won an appeals ruling saying that EchoStar infringes on TiVo's DVR patents, saying EchoStar (now EchoStar Corp and Dish Network) is to pay a $94 million award. Echostar is still disputing this, saying its DVRs have been upgraded with new software so they no longer infringe TiVos patents.

TiVo's aggressive defense of its propriety technology has clearly worked in its favor. Here's a link to an interesting Fortune Magazine story on the topic.

Questions? Comments? MediaMoney@cnbc.com

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  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.