Sezmi, DTV Transition Tune In Growth at Harris Broadcast

Sales of transmission equipment at Harris Broadcast Communications increased at double-digit rates in the quarter that ended June 30 due to strong shipments in the U.S. market for the DTV transition.

Revenues for the fourth quarter of Harris’ FY2008 grew 5 percent to $174 million compared to the prior-year quarter, the company reported.

That’s just a small portion of Harris’ entire revenue, which increased 19 percent to $1.4 billion, compared to $1.2 billion in the prior-year quarter. (Revenue from continuing operations increased 12 percent.) GAAP net income in the quarter was $122 million (90 cents per diluted share), compared to $88 million (63 cents per diluted share) in Q4 2007.

“Video infrastructure equipment sales, including routers, master control, test and measurement, and multiviewers, continued to increase at strong double-digit rates driven by the continuing global conversion by media organizations to digital and HD [high-definition] operations,” the company said in a statement.

On the downside, sales of server equipment declined compared to an unusually strong prior-year quarter, and the continuing product transition to new traffic and billing software platforms in North American and international markets dampened sales of legacy software products.

Following the end of the quarter, cost-reduction actions including additional headcount reductions were initiated to further improve operating performance.

The company received a significant order from Sezmi, a new entertainment services company that is combining traditional TV content, movies and Internet video in a single product. (Read TV Technology columnist Doug Lung’s take on Sezmi here.)

Harris is providing Sezmi with traffic and scheduling systems and a multichannel playout and nationwide distribution system, including video encoding, video servers, multiviewers, routers, test and measurement systems and signal processing equipment. Harris will also distribute content and provide network and IT managed services utilizing its network operations center (NOC) in Melbourne, Fla.

In another high-profile sale, the National Basketball Association purchased NetVX encoders to backhaul live HD feeds to 29 arenas.

Harris said that its Harris One solution, which “improves workflow across the entire broadcast delivery value chain,” continued to gain traction in both domestic and international markets. Entities ordering the One product include Special Broadcasting Service (SBS), Australia’s multicultural and multilingual public broadcaster, for the comprehensive HD rebuild of its facility in Sydney; Showtime Arabia, a leading pay-TV network in the Middle East; GSEN, the new radio and TV Gaming Sports Entertainment Network in Las Vegas; and cable operators in Thailand and India.

Other key orders came from CTV, in Canada, for multiple HD conversion systems, and from CBS Television, for HD video servers.

Harris reconfirmed its earnings guidance for fiscal 2009 in a range of $4.05 to $4.15 per diluted share.