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Cinedigm Launching Digital Channel for Comic Convention Fans

13 Feb, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Home entertainment distributor ups Q3 revenue 234% to $19 million following acquisition of Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment last October

Cinedigm Entertainment Group is teaming with comic book convention organizer Wizard World Inc. for a branded digital channel set to launch on YouTube in the fourth quarter.

The direct-to-consumer digital network will target comic convention attendees by featuring an array of sci-fi, horror, fantasy, action, adventure, gamer, anime, animation and comedy content, in addition to e-commerce retail options.

“To have 24/7 access to all the content that Cinedigm and Wizard World provide collectively provide, at the touch of a button, provides tremendous value for our fans,” Wizard World CEO John Macaluso said in a statement.

The channel is not affiliated with Comic-Con International, which runs the annual San Diego Comic-Con and WonderCon events.

Wizard World is compiling panels and talent to premiere on the network and will continue filming at upcoming conventions across North America throughout the winter and spring. Following conventions in January and February, the company is set to host another 14 conventions across the United States in 2014, and fans can expect to see upwards of 200 hours of new footage. Additionally, Wizard World is leveraging more than 2,000 vendor, exhibitor and artist relationships to create a comic con shopping experience on the digital network.

“Our vision is to be the narrowcasting version of a Hulu or Netflix or an Amazon,” Cinedigm CEO Chris McGurk said in the fiscal call.

The comic con channel mirrors the upcoming April launch of the Docurama channel on YouTube's paid channel initiative, which will be available on Roku, Xbox and related Samsung devices.

Meanwhile, CEG Feb. 13 announced it upped third-quarter (ended Dec. 31) revenue to $18.8 million, from $8 million in revenue during the previous-year period. The surge reflected the positive impact of the Oct. 21, 2013, acquisition of Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment. GVE generated $10.9 million in revenue following the transaction — excluding $2.2 million in revenue GVE generated previous owner Gaiam prior to the sale.

CEG expanded its home entertainment distribution library to more than 33,000 titles during the third quarter, and delivered more than 2,500 pieces of content into the digital ecosystem.

McGurk said CEG has already recognized upwards of $3.8 million in annualized operating synergies since the acquisition.

‘These benefits should be fully realized in Q4 and early next fiscal year,” he said.

Meanwhile, the CEO said GVE was unable to add significant content in 2013 due to Gaiam’s intent to sell the unit (with the exception of fitness content).

As a result, subsequent content revenue from one transaction will be recognized only in future quarters.

“Which we did not anticipate,” McGurk said, adding the company would up third-party digital content distribution going forward.

Cinedigm has direct relationships with more than 60,000 packaged-media retail stores and digital platforms, including Walmart’s Vudu.com, Best Buy’s CinemaNow, Target Ticket, iTunes, Netflix, and Amazon Instant Video, as well as video-on-demand platforms on cable television.

“The acquisition of GVE has generated solid results right out of the gate,” McGurk said in a statement. “With the integration on track and nearly complete, we are focused on building our sales pipeline by leveraging our position as the largest independent physical and digital distributor of non-theatrical content into the home and mobile markets.”


About the Author: Erik Gruenwedel

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