Gemstar-After the bell-update

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    PASADENA, Calif. -- Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. (GMST) posted a sharply wider net loss for the first quarter on a 13% decline in revenue.
    The media-and-technology concern late Wednesday reported a net loss of $208 million, or 50 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier net loss of $123.2 million, or 30 cents a share.

    New accounting rules implemented at the beginning of 2002 require the periodic testing of goodwill for impairment rather than a quarterly expense for amortization of goodwill -- the excess of the price paid for an acquisition. Excluding that change, Gemstar said it would have lost $20.2 million, or five cents a share, in the latest quarter.

    If the accounting rules were in effect as of Jan. 1, 2001, the company said its year-earlier loss would have been $3.9 million, or break-even on a per-share basis.

    Revenue, meanwhile, fell to $296.6 million from $342.2 million. Revenue at the media and services segment -- which includes the TV Guide magazine and cable- television channel -- fell 17% to $212.8 million on "a challenging circulation environment and a weak advertising market."

    Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or Ebitda, slipped 15% to $102.1 million. The figures -- a widely used measure of financial performance among media companies, which have high production costs -- also exclude stock-based compensation.

    Gemstar, which bought TV Guide in 2000, also holds patents related to its interactive program guide, which helps cable- and satellite-television viewers search programs on TV by channel, time period and title.

    The company reiterated it expects to take an impairment charge of about $5 billion because of the new goodwill accounting rules. Gemstar said it is still analyzing how much of a charge it will have to record.

    At 4 p.m. EDT on the Nasdaq Stock Market, shares of Gemstar were up 32 cents, or 3.4%, at $9.74. In after-hours activity, the stock fell to $9.05, according to Island ECN
 
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