Starz Crosses 3 Million Mark in Online Subscribers, Says Lionsgate

Mike Pont/FilmMagic
Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer

"Demand for Starz content is greater than ever," CEO Jon Feltheimer told shareholders in Toronto.

Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer on Tuesday used the backdrop of the Toronto International Film Festival to tell investors that Starz, his premium TV channel, has moved past the 3 million mark in over-the-top subscribers.

"And I should note that our subscriber totals don’t include the more than 1 million additional subscribers across Starz’s international platforms and partners," Feltheimer said in remarks that followed the studio's annual shareholders meeting in Toronto.

As Starz competes directly against HBO and Showtime for premium TV cable subscribers, and against industry headwinds from Netflix and other digital insurgents, the Lionsgate topper argued demand for Starz content "is greater than ever, driving growth in traditional, over-the-top, and international subscribers."

On the theatrical movie side, Feltheimer said over 90 percent of the films from his studio's Motion Pictures Group were profitable, and he branded his TV production division a "prolific intellectual property machine." Feltheimer also talked up Lionsgate's partnership with the Los Angeles-based talent management firm 3 Arts Entertainment to get closer to Hollywood talent and content creators.

That pact has made Lionsgate even more aggressive in pursuing creative talent to exploit ownership rights, especially after acquiring Starz to get deeper into TV. "As a major content producer, it’s critical for us to be in business with great talent and to give artists the ability to create projects across the full palette of our film, television, Starz, game and location-based entertainment platforms," he argued.

Feltheimer concluded his annual pep talk to investors by underlining his studio's new mission statement: "Our goal is simple — to continue collaborating with talent in new and exciting ways, and to continue working closely with our partners to reach and entertain a global audience."

Lionsgate's annual shareholders meeting at the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto came midway through the Toronto Film Festival, which runs through Sunday.