RealTime IT News

Excite@Home Meets Expectations, Hopeful for 2001

Excite@Home, which Tuesday slashed its staff by 8 percent, Thursday met analysts expectations as it emerged from fourth quarter 2000 with a hopeful outlook for 2001.

"We continue to set the pace for the growth of broadband services around the world," said George Bell, chairman and chief executive officer of Excite@Home. "Leveraging our high-speed broadband network, we and our cable partners distanced ourselves from our DSL competitors in 2000, and we exited the year as the clear leader in broadband market share. Excite@Home enters 2001 as not only the largest broadband ISP in the world, but also as the fifth-largest paid ISP overall in North America."

Looking forward to 2001, Bell added, "We expect continued rapid growth in 2001, and accommodating that growth with a high level of quality and reliability in the performance of our network -- a network with no peer in the marketplace -- is our primary focus. We are making the necessary investments to address this priority, and the necessary improvements in our cost structure to ensure that we can grow with a trend toward profitability. The one-time, non-cash charge we took in the fourth quarter reflects our decision to exit non-core businesses and take a prudent approach to our balance sheet. We remain very enthusiastic about the growth opportunities in all of our business segments, and are committed to a diversified revenue model."

In addition to cutting 250 jobs -- primarily focused on its Internet media content business Excite Studios -- the company's content strategy has now been reformulated in order to take advantage of its broadband assets. The company's media efforts will now turn away from banner advertising and instead center on broadband advertising -- with its audio and video capabilities as well as the ability to utilize sophisticated measurement techniques -- in an attempt to enhance its appeal to Fortune 500 companies.

The company reported fourth quarter 2000 revenues of $169.1 million, up 31 percent compared to revenues of $128.8 million in the same period last year. The net operating loss for the quarter was $36 million, or about 9 cents per share, right on target as far as analysts' estimates were concerned.

Excite@Home's residential broadband subscriber base grew 157 percent to 2.95 million in fourth quarter 2000, up from fourth quarter 1999's base of 1.14 million. Subscribers topped out at 2.31 million at the end of third quarter 2000.