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Acorn TV, Urban Movie Channel Reach 500,000 Combined Subs

14 Mar, 2017 By: Erik Gruenwedel

RLJ Entertainment March 14 announced its proprietary subscription streaming video services — Acorn TV and Urban Movie Channel — collectively topped 500,000 subscribers through Feb. 28.

The tally underscores a 50,000-sub jump since the end of 2016, when the services exceeded 450,000 subs — up 125% from 200,000 subs at the end of 2015.

The Baltimore, Md.-based home entertainment distributor — formed in 2012 through the merger of Acorn Media Group and Image Entertainment — said the figures are part of its unaudited financial data at the end of fiscal 2016.

Regardless, the growth is key as Acorn TV faces new competition from BritBox, an upstart SVOD service launched domestically by BBC Worldwide and ITV.

To counter competition, which includes Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, RLJE markets Acorn TV and UMC on Amazon Channels — the e-commerce behemoth’s third-party SVOD marketing platform targeting Prime members in the United States and U.S territories.

"Half a million subscribers is a major milestone for us, and we are very excited by Acorn TV and UMC's continued growth prospects,” CEO Miguel Penella said in a statement. 

Penella said expanded original content — including movie Agatha Christie’s The Witness for the Prosecution, starring Toby Jones and Kim Cattrall, and Irish legal TV drama “Striking Out” — enhanced via improved apps, underscores his confidence consumers of British movies and TV shows see Acorn TV as a primary destination.

Indeed, RLJE needs SVOD to ramp up its fiscal contribution. The company is co-owned by AMC Networks, which last year invested $65 million in a move that includes stock warrants giving AMC majority control of RLJE should it exercise them.

RLJE ended 2016 with a projected loss from $21.7 million to $22.1 million on estimated revenue $79 million to $80 million. The company reported a loss of $54 million on revenue of $124.9 million in 2015. The company releases yearend fiscal results March 23.

About the Author: Erik Gruenwedel

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