Lionsgate Inks Deal With Wuaki.tv in the U.K.17 Mar, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Japanese-owned transactional VOD service is competing with Netflix, Amazon Prime, Sky’s Now TV and Tesco’s Blinkbox for digital eyeballs
Lionsgate March 17 said it signed a license agreement with Rakuten, a Japanese-owned e-commerce company that operates Wuaki.tv, a transactional video-on-demand service in the United Kingdom.
The deal was completed by Lionsgate U.K., the Santa Monica, Calif.-based mini-major’s U.K. subsidiary. Lionsgate U.K. posted its best-ever quarterly (ended Oct. 31) revenue of $55.9 million, a 53% increase from $36.6 million in the prior year quarter driven by the U.K. theatrical release of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and the third-party title Olympus Has Fallen.
In addition to digital rights to Catching Fire, Wuaki.tv will be renting and selling catalog titles such as The Expendables, Dirty Dancing, Crash and The Hurt Locker, among others. Titles rent from $4 and can be viewed on connected devices, including smart-TVs, Xbox 360 consoles and Apple iOS platforms.
“We are delighted to become part of Wuaki.tv's U.K. transactional service and we look forward to growing our partnership with them, starting with the release of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which became available [March 16]," Joanna Knight, Lionsgate U.K. senior sales controller of digital, said in a statement.
Wuaki.tv, which was formed in 2009 and is based in Barcelona, Spain, was acquired by Rakuten in 2013. Other content partners include the BBC, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, Walt Disney Studios, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, among others.
“Lionsgate U.K. is well known in the U.K. and internationally for producing some fantastic movies and TV series," Jacinto Roca, Wuaki.tv CEO said in a statement. "We want to provide Wuaki.tv users with the best selection of movies and TV series available anywhere in the world, rather than a long list of titles they have never heard of. The partnership with Lionsgate U.K. is an ideal addition to our extensive catalog, adding some great titles and classic movies."