Milken Conference: Lionsgate's Michael Burns Says Binge Viewing Isn't Going Away

Michael Burns

The Lionsgate vice chairman's comments were part of a panel on the pursuit of the digital dollar.

Speaking on a panel about the rise of digital media, Lionsgate vice chairman Michael Burns predicted that "binge viewing is never going away."

Burns cited his own family as proof that binge viewing, aided by mobile devices that stream video, is here to stay.

He was part of a panel at the Milken Institute Global Conference that discussed Hollywood's pursuit of the digital dollar. Joining him on stage were Disney evp corporate strategy Kevin Mayer, Dune Capital Management CEO Steven Mnuchin and Electus chairman Ben Silverman. The executives discussed a range of topics, including the value of audiences on YouTube and how Netflix has changed the distribution game.

When the conversation turned to YouTube, Mayer spoke about Disney's up to $950 million purchase of Maker Studios.

"If you want to reach a younger generation, you have to have a real presence on YouTube," he said. "The Maker acquisition was about establishing more than a foothold but a leading presence on YouTube."

Silverman also touched on the importance of YouTube for traditional media brands, noting that Electus has partnered with rapper Eminem and Modern Family star Sofia Vergara on YouTube channels where they can create content that's relevant to their brands.

"We’ve very consciously looked at the digital platform, specifically YouTube, as a great place to figure out how to build tribes and tap into what was done in the cable television market in going after different niches," he said.

The panelists also discussed the growing appetite for its content on online platforms such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Instant Video. "The more the merrier," Burns said of new online distributors, noting that Lionsgate television shows Nashville and Mad Men have both benefited from exclusive licensing deals with Hulu and Netflix, respectively.  

The panel was moderated by Kevin Klowden, director of the California Center and managing economist at the Milken Institute.