Gemstar-TV Guide


posted a third-quarter loss Thursday as revenue slid sharply from a year ago, led by continued erosion at

TV Guide


The company also issued financial guidance for the first time since last year's management change, saying it would earn 2 to 6 cents a share for fiscal 2004, excluding any legal costs. Gemstar-TV Guide said it expects to post operating income of $22 million to $47 million, including depreciation, amortization and stock compensation expenses.

For the third quarter ended Sept. 30, the Los Angeles-based company posted a loss of $18 million, or 4 cents a share, reversing the year-ago profit of $4 million, or a penny a share. Sales slid 12% from a year earlier to $208 million, led by a 9% drop in publishing revenue and an 18% plunge in cable-and-satellite revenue.

The company said it continues to face challenges as it revamps its publishing, cable and licensing businesses. "In September, TV Guide magazine debuted its first significant redesign in a decade," CEO Jeff Shell said. "While it is still very early to gauge the success of the relaunch, the company is encouraged by initial results, which suggest stabilization in newsstand sales and renewed advertiser interest."

Gemstar is trying to spring back from a plunge that started during the tenure of longtime CEO Henry Yuen. Yuen stepped down last year under pressure from leading shareholder

News Corp.

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, amid a spate of governance and financial issues. Gemstar has twice restated past results to fix accounting issues, and in June the

Securities and Exchange Commission

sued Yuen and former financial chief Elsie Leung, alleging they engaged in "a widespread and complex scheme to inflate Gemstar's licensing and advertising revenues."

Gemstar's problems underscore the unfulfilled promise of the interactive program guide business, which investors had hoped would turn the company into an advertising powerhouse.

During regular trading Thursday, Gemstar fell 8 cents to $4.68. It added 22 cents in after-hours action to hit $4.90, putting it just a dollar below its 52-week high.