Lionsgate Relocates International Sales Arm to London

The "Hungers Games" studio leaps across the Atlantic to better feast on world markets.

TORONTO - As Lionsgate continues expanding overseas, the mini-studio on Friday said it has relocated its international sales arm to London.

Key executives, including motion picture group executive vp of international sales Wendy Reeds and Crystal Bourbeau, have shifted to the Lionsgate UK office in London.

Additional executive hires in London are anticipated.

Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer told analysts during a morning call that the international sales move across the Atlantic "positions us closer to overseas markets" the company is increasingly pursuing.

He pointed to record international revenues last year, and recently expanded output agreements with Studiocanal and Tele Munchen Group in Germany, Roadshow Pictures in Australia, Nordisk Film in Scandinavia and Belga Films in Benelux.

There's another new output agreement with Leone Film Group in Italy, and a new content partnership with The Alibaba Group in China considered a model for exploiting expanding subscription VOD platforms internationally.

Elsewhere during the call, Feltheimer addressed investor concerns that The Hunger Games had impressed at the worldwide box office for Lionsgate, but the mini-studio has no similar franchise going forward.

He pointed to a successful release of Divergent on digital on July 22 and on Blu-ray and DVD on August 5.

Feltheimer reported Divergent was on track to become Lionsgate's biggest EST title ever, and the first three days of the packaged media release was running 30% ahead of projections.

Co-COO Steve Beeks told analysts that operating margins on the release of digital formats in EST and VOD were lifting growing profitability.

"If you look at results across the industry, operating margins at the studio level is actually growing, and has been growing for a few years, and is at its highest point since 2009," Beeks said.