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How Lionsgate is Thinking About PVOD and Growing STARZ OTT Revenue

Stephanie Sengwe

Like many other media companies, 2020 was a big year for Lionsgate as people were turning to streaming services by the hoards. In their Q4 earnings call, the company reported that they grew 900,000 OTT subscribers globally, and the number includes Starzplay Arabia.

In the U.S. Lionsgate reported that OTT subscribers increased to 9.5 million. Total global media networks’ OTT subscribers were at 14.6 million while MVPD subscribers remained at 13.4 million for a total of 28 million subscribers.

In November, the company reported domestic OTT subscribers increased to 9.2 million, up from 7.4 million as of June 30. Globally (including STARZPLAY Arabia), they added 2.3 million reaching 13.7 million subscribers.Last February, Lionsgate reported the Starz cable/streamer had 6.3 million OTT customers.

President and CEO of Starz, Jeffrey Hirsch also gave some insight on how well Starz had done as a both a standalone service and part of a bundle. “If you look back over the last couple years, as we were primarily a linear network, bundled network with low ARPU subs and we’ve converted over 50 percent or more of our OTT subs, the linear subs and that profitability continues to come up, you look at our ARPU in the last quarter was over $6,” Hirsch explained.

“I think there’s some noise in that number still based on our converting from bundles to a la carte on Comcast, but we expect long-term to be somewhere between those $5.75 and $6 on ARPU, so a much more profitable subscriber as we bring them on to the platform. And then if you look internationally, we still think that we’ll end up where we said publicly somewhere between $3 and $4 when we get out to 2025 and that’s a little bit more of a steeper line as we accelerate the OTT growth in the international side. “

With movie theaters still shuttered across the country, Lionsgate, like other media conglomerates, has had to restrategize their film distribution plans. “We’re looking at the theater business and we do think that theaters will get opened by the summer, maybe earlier. We’re prime for that and at the same time, we’ve had a number of experiences now in the PVOD space,” stated Joseph Drake, Chair, of Lionsgate’s Motion Picture Group.

“We are seeing multiple opportunities or multiple options for distribution of each title. That’s the way we greenlight our titles now. We look at the theatrical option, we look at PVOD, we look at other models, theatrical to PVOD, and greenlight on that basis and we’re just seeing more opportunity than ever before?”

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