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REAL NETWORKS SEES RED
Earnings Down, Subscriptions Up Ahead of Listen.com Purchase
RealNetworks yesterday reported that it lost $2.8 million, or two cents a share, in the first three months of the year. The net loss reverses the company’s profit-making results from the same period a year ago, when it reported net income of $1 million, or one cent a share.

However, Real also announced that it had crossed the one-million-subscriber threshold for its Real One SuperPass service, which includes access to radio, news and Major League Baseball and PGA Golf broadcasts.

"In the first quarter of 2003 we continued to make progress toward our key goals," Real CEO Rob Glaser said in a statement. "We stabilized our technology business while continuing to grow our consumer subscription business.”

Regarding SuperPass growth, Glaser told the Wall Street Journal, "It's a key milestone. When we started this two-and-a-half years ago there was such enormous skepticism that the model would work. It's just the start of the opportunity."

Real’s revenue for the quarter dipped 1% to $46.9 million from $47.3 million a year earlier. The company said its net loss, once adjusted to exclude stock-based compensation, investment losses and depreciation charges, was reduced to $382,000 for the quarter, or break-even per share.

Real last week announced it would buy Listen.com, developer of the well-regarded Rhapsody subscription music service, for $36 million.

Looking ahead, Real says it expects revenue to grow slightly in the second quarter. However, as the company continues to invest for growth, it says it will likely post a loss of one to three cents per share.

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