Lionsgate Streaming 'Orange Is the New Black' on YouTube in China9 Aug, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Co-COO Steve Beeks says new Xbox One should spur Blu-ray, digital sales
Lionsgate began streaming original series “Orange Is the New Black” on YouTube in China the day after its July 11 premiere on Netflix.
Working with Asian partner Celestial Tiger Entertainment, the launch marked the earliest that a U.S. television show has premiered on an international digital platform, according to Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer.
Lionsgate is one of the largest producers of original TV programming, including “Mad Men” for AMC Networks and “Black” for Netflix.
Speaking to analysts during the mini-major’s Aug. 9 fiscal call, Feltheimer said he expects Netflix to greenlight a third season of the women’s prison dramedy. A second season is currently filming in New York.
“[‘Black’] has already generated more than 7 million views [in China] in its first three weeks,” Feltheimer said.
Lionsgate has also finalized a pilot for Amazon Prime Instant Video, and is close to signing an agreement for an original series for Hulu.com.
The Santa Monica, Calif.-based studio realized a 21% increase in digital revenue in its most recent fiscal period. Digital sellthrough revenue industrywide reached almost $500 million through first half of the year, according to DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.
“We’re now seeing digital home entertainment revenue becoming incremental margin as opposed to replacement margin,” Feltheimer said.
Separately, with Microsoft’s pending Xbox One video game system incorporating a Blu-ray Disc drive for the first time, the market opportunity for sales of BD movies and digital sellthrough should expand accordingly, said co-COO Steve Beeks.
Indeed, Lionsgate generated more than $100 million in packaged media revenue in its most recent quarter.
“I think that bodes well for the future of that format,” Beeks said, adding that the new game consoles (including Sony’s PlayStation 4) will enhance sellthrough and transactional VOD opportunities for digital content.
“The launch of [these devices] will really help that along even further.” he said.