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Lionsgate: New Major UltraViolet Retailers Expected to Announce Shortly

8 Nov, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel

A multichannel video program distributor is also set to roll out electronic sellthrough of movies and TV shows

Two major domestic retailers are expected to announce in the coming weeks their support for the distribution of electronic sellthrough (EST) movies with UltraViolet functionality, Lionsgate co-COO Steve Beeks told analysts.

Speaking Nov. 8 on the mini-major’s fiscal call, Beeks reiterated recent industry data underscoring 50% growth in EST revenue in the third quarter — much of it driven by the early digital release (ahead of packaged media) of movies across more than a dozen digital platforms.

Major retailers currently supporting EST and UltraViolet include Walmart, Target and Best Buy.

Beeks, along with CEO Jon Feltheimer, said the undisclosed retailers would buttress high-margin digital sellthrough market — both domestically and abroad — by making new-release movies available with UltraViolet functionality up to a month early for $14.99.

“That’s going to accelerate growth in the EST marketplace even further,” Beeks said, adding that early release of Lionsgate titles is done on “an opportunistic” basis.

“We look at every single film differently and make a judgment call on what can of film is going to benefit from [early release],” Beeks said.

Feltheimer said at least one multichannel video program distributor, such as cable, satellite and telecommunications, in the next few weeks will roll out an EST platform, which could also include early releases. MVPDs heretofore have limited their retail exposure to transactional VOD movie rentals.

“When that happens, it’s really going to open up amazing opportunities for the future of electronic sellthrough,” Feltheimer said. “And I think you’re going to see it in a very short period of time.”

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