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RLJ Entertainment Widens Q1 Loss

8 Jun, 2015 By: Erik Gruenwedel

RLJ Entertainment (RLJE) June 8 reported a first-quarter (ended March 31) net loss of $10.6 million, up slightly from a loss of $10 million during the previous-year period. Revenue declined 14% to $26.1 million, due largely to a reduced release slate.

In the quarter, RLJE's U.S. wholesale unit, which includes Acorn Media and Image Entertainment, released 31 titles on disc and electronic sellthrough versus 54 titles released in the first quarter of 2014.

The company's digital revenue increased by $689,000 to $1.4 million and currently accounts for 18.5% of the direct-to-consumer segment revenue. The increase was primarily driven by RLJE’s British mystery and drama subscription streaming service, Acorn TV. The SVOD service has approximately 130,000 subscribers, which is an increase of 73% since the previous-year period and an increase of 10% since Dec. 31.

“We expect a stronger slate of content releases over the course of the remainder of the year. Importantly, our successfully completed capital raise provides us with the right resources to aggressively move forward with our long-term business plan, including an appropriate level of investment in content to distribute across our physical and digital platforms,” CEO Miguel Penella said in a statement.

In April, RLJ namesake Robert L. Johnson purchased 15,000 shares of stock for $15 million — funds the company used to reduce debt and for working capital purposes.

Penella said the recently launched SVOD service Urban Movie Channel continues to develop, including recent licensing of related content from Starz Digital.

“We are confident we'll see significant subscription growth over time,” he said.


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