Lionsgate's Jon Feltheimer Touts Film and TV Slate to Investors

Jon Feltheimer Getty H 2016
Mike Pont/FilmMagic

His studio held its first AGM since unveiling a $4.4 billion merger with Starz.

Lionsgate topper Jon Feltheimer on Tuesday told investors his studio's pending $4.4 billion merger with Starz is coming at a pivotal moment for the entertainment industry.

"We approach the launch of the combined entity with our strongest television lineup ever and one of our deepest and most exciting film slates," the exec told investors at his company's first AGM since unveiling the tie-up with the premium cable channel, expected to close by the end of the year.

"We believe that we’re bringing Lionsgate and Starz together at exactly the right time, and the combination will strengthen our companies in a number of ways," he added. The combined Lionsgate and Starz entity will operate or be invested in 30 channel platforms around the world, including the flagship Starz platform that reaches 24 million U.S. subscribers, and the Starz Encore network with more than 32 million subscribers.

But Feltheimer pointed out — after news Monday of plans to launch a new branded SVOD with Univision Entertainment for a Latino audience, and then a day later, announcement of a licensing and global electronic sell-through deal with Vimeo — that his studio is aggressively moving to get its content into an expanding digital universe.

"As we look at the year ahead, we’re bullish about the environment for content owners and believe that we’re very well positioned to benefit from the increasing velocity of change within our industry," he told investors.

Once the Starz deal closes, Feltheimer said the combined companies, after spending around $1.8 billion annually on new content, will release more than 40 films a year and produce around 90 TV series, while also exploiting a 16,000-title film and television library.

Lionsgate's annual shareholders meeting in Toronto came midway through the Toronto International Film Festival, which runs through Sunday.