* First-quarter core EPS from continuing ops seen at $0.77-$0.92 vs est $1.21
* Forecasts first-quarter revenue $568 mln-$593 mln vs est $624.2 mln
* Fourth-quarter core EPS from cont ops $0.93 vs est $0.73
* Fourth-quarter revenue $564.1 mln vs est $580.2 mln
* Shares fall 8.6 percent in after-market trade
By Sruthi Ramakrishnan
Feb 7 (Reuters) - Coinstar Inc, the operator of Redbox video rental kiosks, forecast current-quarter results significantly below analysts’ estimates due to a slower movie release schedule, sending its shares down nearly 9 percent in extended trading.
After reporting lower-than-expected fourth-quarter revenue, Coinstar said it expected earnings from continuing operations of 77 cents to 92 cents per share for the first quarter on revenue of $568 million to $593 million.
Analysts on average were expecting earnings of $1.21 per share on revenue of $624.2 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Chief Financial Officer Scott Di Valerio, who will become chief executive on March 31, said current-quarter results would struggle to compete with an “amazing” first quarter last year.
“We had two-thirds of our new unique customers show up in first quarter 2012,” he said on a conference call with analysts. “One of the challenges we are facing as we move into the quarter is content.”
Only 12 movies with total box office receipts of $922 million were released in January 2013, compared with 23 movies with receipts of $1.4 billion in January last year, he said.
Bellevue, Washington-based Coinstar moved into the growing video streaming market in December with the launch of an invitation-only beta version of its Redbox Instant service in collaboration with Verizon Communications Inc .
Video streaming is grabbing a greater share of the video rental market, a trend highlighted by robust subscriber growth at dominant movie rental company Netflix Inc, J.P. Morgan analyst Paul Coster wrote in a pre-earnings note.
Netflix impressed Wall Street last month with a surprisingly strong holiday quarter, when sales of tablets and Internet-connected TVs helped to lift subscriptions.
Coinstar said its Redbox Instant service was now available on web, tablet and mobile devices, including Apple Inc’s iOS, Android, Microsoft Corp’s Xbox 360 and Samsung Electronics’s Blu-ray Players and TVs with SmartHub.
“We are on track to make the service available to all consumers in the first quarter,” outgoing CEO Paul Davis said.
Coinstar said in a statement that investment in Redbox Instant, along with expansion in Canada and ticketing, would weigh on profits in the first half of the year before providing returns in the second half of 2013.
In Canada, Redbox has established agreements with retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc, Safeway Inc, Loblaw Companies Ltd and Shoppers Drug Mart Corp and had installed about 350 kiosks in the country by the end of 2012.
Redbox Tickets, which sells tickets for live events and performances at face value plus a $1 service fee, launched a pilot program in Philadelphia in the fourth quarter and expanded to Los Angeles in late January.
The company said, however, that its plan to roll out Rubi coffee kiosks did not meet fourth-quarter forecasts. Coinstar said in June that it planned to open about 500 of the kiosks, selling Starbucks Corp’s Seattle’s Best Coffee, by the end of 2012.
Coinstar’s net income fell to $22.8 million, or 75 cents per share, in the fourth quarter, from $31.5 million, or $1.00 per share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 8 percent to $564.1 million.
Core diluted earnings per share from continuing operations were 93 cents.
Analysts were expecting adjusted fourth-quarter earnings of 73 cents per share on revenue of $580.2 million.
The company’s shares closed at $52.10 on the Nasdaq on Thursday.