Lionsgate Looks to Make Deals With iTunes, Amazon

Citing the studio’s recent agreement to stream 'Mad Men' on Netflix, CEO Jon Feltheimer says online video deals will drive Lionsgate’s TV business.

TORONTO -- Lionsgate on Wednesday became the latest Hollywood player to embrace Netflix and other digital platform players as friends, rather than foes.

“We view Google, Netflix, iTunes, Amazon and other new digital media players as partners, not adversaries,” Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer told analysts during a morning call.

As with an earlier EPIX library deal with Netflix, Feltheimer added Lionsgate would balance the interest of its new digital platform partners with those of its traditional media partners to maximize the revenue, and underlying value, for its product.

Feltheimer said the recent syndication deal to bring Mad Men to Netflix underlined how online video deals will drive Lionsgate’s TV business, especially internationally where the upside potential is vast.

The Lionsgate boss told analysts he had just returned from China, where box office for Hollywood movies underlined how that market was quickly growing.

In China, Lionsgate is eyeing local players for advertising support and subscription VOD deals for its content.

"These are companies that each have hundreds of millions of monthly online subscribers," Feltheimer said.

“When we look at growth in Asia, Latin America and Europe, coupled with increasing demand for our content on digital and VOD platforms, and rapid expansion of digital screens, we believe our media business is beginning to transition into a new growth phase propelled by a perfect storm of international and digital opportunities," he added.

The latest Netflix deal for Lionsgate will also feed quickly to the company’s bottom line, analysts were told.

The Mad Men window for Netflix will start opening in July, with revenue recognized by Lionsgate on delivery of episodes.