Lionsgate's Jon Feltheimer Wants Movie Ad Rates Adjusted for Time-Shifted TV Habits

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TORONTO - Lionsgate topper Jon Feltheimer on Friday joined CBS CEO Les Moonves in calling for changes in how TV ratings are measured in an age of increased time-shifted viewing.

“What Les (Moonves) said yesterday, it’s pretty obvious … that everyone jumps up and down and looks at the ratings the next day, and then we look at the ratings a week later and its 50, 60-plus a percent up in the key demos,” Feltheimer told financial analysts after the CBS chief on Wednesday urged a shift to a day-of-show-plus-one-week time frame to measure DVR viewing.

“Obviously, that’s what [is] relevant as you try to build a huge show,” he added.

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Feltheimer had more than U.S. network viewers missing in action in mind as he talked about shifting TV viewing habits.

Lionsgate pays big ad dollars to market its teen tentpoles to young TV audiences apparently disappearing in U.S. network ratings of late. So it wants better metrics to ensure its movie ads are seen ahead of opening weekend.

“… If we go to a live + 7, given the timeliness of our marketing spend, we’ll have to sort of look at those numbers and in a sense get some kind of an adjustment based on the fact that obviously, if it’s seven days and our movie is coming out in three days, we get the benefit of the digital viewers,” Feltheimer argued.

That urgency to make ads DVR-proof follows Lionsgate on Thursday reporting a surge in second quarter earnings due to the home entertainment release of The Hunger Games, and ahead of the November 16 release of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2.

Feltheimer told analysts that, while the budget for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire sequel is far higher than the first break-out film, the recent build-out of an international distribution network has led to the same domestic exposure on the second installment as for the original The Hunger Games title.

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He pointed to gains elsewhere in other young adult franchises, with the book-to-screen adaptation of Veronica Roth’s Divergent to be released on March 21, 2014, in the same slot used to launch The Hunger Games.

And advanced sales for the next Twilight installment are running ahead of those for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1.

“We’re looking to a big opening weekend that will take our slate to $1 billion in domestic box office this year,” Feltheimer predicted.

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