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Lionsgate Melding Starz Distribution Into Unified Home Entertainment Unit Headed by Jim Packer and Ron Schwartz

3 Nov, 2016 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Jim Packer and Ron Schwartz

Select Starz and Anchor Bay Entertainment employees to join operation, according to CEO Jon Feltheimer

Lionsgate will integrate Starz Distribution into its home entertainment operations, headed by Jim Packer, president of worldwide TV and digital distribution, and Ron Schwartz, president of home entertainment.

The studio/distributor in June acquired Starz LLC in a $4.4 billion transaction that is expected to close by the end of the fourth quarter.

Speaking on the company's Nov. 3 fiscal call, CEO Jon Feltheimer said integrating Starz Distribution into a “world class packaged-media, digital and TV distribution business” would result in a number of key unnamed Starz and Anchor Bay executives coming aboard the combined operation.

Starz Distribution distributes proprietary physical and digital content, in addition to The Weinstein Co., via Anchor Bay Entertainment — the latter headed by Bill Clark. "Ash vs. Evil Dead: The Complete First Season" is the distributor’s best-selling packaged-media release since 2010.

Starz Distribution reported an operating loss of $2.5 million on revenue of $60.9 million during its most-recent fiscal period. The distributor cited a dearth of Weinstein releases in the quarter, as well as a $2.8 million increase (to $26.2 million) in cash paid for investment in films and TV programs for the loss.

Lionsgate will also migrate Starz operations into 60,000 square-feet of new office space located next to its Santa Monica, Calif.-based headquarters.

Lionsgate also plans to migrate its over-the-top video streaming backend technology to the Starz OTT platform beginning with new Spanish-language streaming services.

Meanwhile, Lionsgate said second-quarter (ended Sept. 30) home entertainment revenue from theatrical and television shows increased 5% to $160.7 million, driven by a 31% spike in motion picture digital home entertainment revenue and the strong home entertainment retail performance of Now You See Me 2.

The sequel, which grossed $335 million at the global box office, was released into the retail channel Sept. 6. The title bowed at No. 2 on the NPD VideoScan First Alert sales chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, as well as the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart the week ended Sept. 11.

Overall, Lionsgate narrowed its quarterly loss to $17.4 million on revenue of $639.5 million, compared with a loss of $42 million on revenue of $476.7 million during the previous-year period.

About the Author: Erik Gruenwedel

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