Lionsgate's library revenue a page-turner

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TORONTO -- Higher TV revenue led Canadian ministudio Lionsgate on Monday to forecast that it will exceed its guidance on library revenue this year.

Lionsgate Entertainment Corp. CEO John Feltheimer told analysts during a conference call that his company will surpass guidance of full-year library sales of more than $200 million.

He also indicated that, with $185 million already posted in library revenue through the first three quarters of fiscal 2007, the company will generate more than $75 million in free cash flow from library sales for the year.

Lionsgate in recent years has used library revenue to offset boxoffice disappointments.

During its latest quarter, which Lionsgate reported Friday, TV revenue in its motion picture segment rose 55% to $31.2 million compared with $20.2 million a year ago. Its fiscal third-quarter profit multiplied thanks to film releases like "Saw III."

Separately, TV production revenue was $32.9 million, up 27% from $26 million from fiscal 2006, on the strength of deliveries including "Wildfire," "Dirty Dancing: The Reality Series," and "The Lost Room."

Lionsgate's burgeoning TV division also was helped by a contribution from Debmar-Mercury Llc., the independent TV distributor bought in July.

On the acquisitions front, Feltheimer said Lionsgate will continue to act "judiciously" after acquiring British distributor Redbus last year and most recently launching a $30 million takeover bid in Australia for Magna Pacific, the home entertainment distributor.

"We continue to look at all different ways of expanding our footprint," he said. "It depends on what assets we have and what partnerships we have and what's the best strategy for each territory."
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