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Dove Channel Touts 22,000 Subscribers

9 Feb, 2016 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Cinedigm Corp. Feb. 9 said it estimates the upstart Dove Channel subscription streaming service has 22,000 paying subs since its launch in September. The channel, along with CONtv and Docurama, represents the home entertainment distributor’s foray into the over-the-top video space.

In the Cinedigm fiscal call, CEO Chris McGurk said total minutes consumed across all three services topped 10 million minutes in the third quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2015), up from 4.7 million minutes at the end of the prior quarter. The services have more than 1.8 million combined app downloads, more than 316,000 registered users, up 43% and 155%, respectively, since the end of Q2.

“Dove has a commanding lead in the iOS app store, compared to direct competitors in the faith and family genre and consistently ranks on the charts very comparably to a premiere Blue Chip narrowcast channels like DramaFever and Crunchyroll,” McGurk said.

To increase consumer awareness, the services in December joined Amazon’s new streaming partnership program, which affords access to millions of Amazon Prime members. The channels are also available via Roku, iOS and Android platforms.

“We believe we secured this prime real estate due both to the high-quality of all of our apps and the large volume of highly curated premium content available on each of our channels,” McGurk said.

Last month, Cinedigm announced the first original programming for Dove Channel: A series premiering in April featuring standup comedian Chonda Pierce, dubbed “Queen of Clean.”

CONtv, which bowed last year in partnership with Wizard World, lowered the monthly fee to $4.99 from $6.99, and is re-orienting programming to support more of a “Comic-Con VIP” experience than the previous “Netflix for Nerds” approach, according to McGurk.

CONtv coverage is expanding beyond Wizard World events to include Pac South, a gaming conference; C2E2, a Comic-Con convention in the Midwest; and Wonder Con, the pop-culture event in Southern California.

Separately, Cinedigm said the pipeline for packaged-media distribution remains strong, with retailers Walmart and Amazon showing long-term commitment to DVDs. Overall distribution revenue increased 23% compared with the pretor-year quarter.

Holiday-themed promotions in the quarter increased year-over-year, driven by branded product lines such as Hallmark Holiday Classics and Shout! Factory’s “My Little Pony.”

“We believe that with an aggressive cost rationalization plan in place and continued focus on improving the product mix and customer base for both our physical and digital businesses, where new digital services continue to launch, we can profitably manage our base business going forward, while it provides a key competitive advantage and builds our leadership position in OTT,” McGurk said.

Indeed, content and entertainment revenue reached $14.4 million, up $2.7 million from the previous-year quarter.

“We continue to aggressively manage returns … and our trailing 12-month return rate (13%) [is] lower than what we encountered during the past two years since the Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment acquisition. We believe this is a direct result of our more disciplined and careful approach to sales placement and returns management,” CFO Jeffrey Edell said.

Separately, McGurk said there was a resolution with Gaiam regarding litigation over issues involving Cinedigm’s $30 million acquisition of GVE in 2013. He said he could not reveal specifics of the resolution based on a confidential agreement.

Cinedigm expects to cut $7 million in expenses going forward, which includes outsourcing IT operations and altering office space allocation.

Finally, the company reported a net loss of $2.5 million on revenue of $30.7 million, which compared to a net loss of $2.3 million on revenue of $31.2 million during the previous-year period.

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