Shares in Roxio Inc. rose slightly today (May 5) after the parent company of Napster reported a lighter loss than analysts expected for the three months ended March 31. The company forecasted improved

Shares in Roxio Inc. rose slightly today (May 5) after the parent company of Napster reported a lighter loss than analysts expected for the three months ended March 31. The company forecasted improved contributions from the digital-music service in the year ahead. Roxio stock closed up 6 cents today, at $4.07.

Overall, Roxio swung from a $2.3 million profit in the fourth quarter of last year to a net loss of $6.6 million, or 20 cents per share, in the current fourth quarter. Analysts on average were calling for a loss of 27 cents per share, according to published reports. Net revenues for the quarter were essentially flat at $34 million.

As previously reported, Napster produced $6.1 million in revenues and a pretax loss of $9.8 million in the fiscal fourth quarter ended March 31. Napster posted $3.6 million in revenues and a pretax loss of $15.1 million in the third quarter ended Dec. 31, 2003.

For the year, digital-music revenues totaled $11.9 million. Napster launched in October.

Roxio says it expects Napster to produce $7 million in revenues in the first quarter of its new fiscal year. For the full year ending March 31, 2005, the company is calling for digital-music revenues -- a mix of digital-download sales and fees from an on-demand subscription service -- to total $30 million to $40 million.

By contrast, Apple Computer recently reported digital-download sales of over 70 million tracks in the first year of business of the iTunes Music Store. Revenue figures were not disclosed.

For the year, Roxio posted a $44.4 million loss on net revenues of $99.3 million. A year ago, Roxio reported a full-year net loss of $9.9 million on revenues of $120.4 million.