Lionsgate swings to profit, may launch cable network


TV/movie producer/distributor Lionsgate beat Wall Street expectations for Q2 and turned profitable on the bottom line, reversing a loss a year earlier. And yes, the company is working on the possible launch of a new cable TV network in partnership with Tyler Perry (pictured).

Total revenues were actually down, since the company had only one major movie release during the quarter, dropping to $261.3 million from $326.6 million. But EBITDA jumped to $29.2 million from negative $35.8 million in Q2 of 2010 – a quarter which had included much more in movie marketing costs and an expensive battle with the company’s largest shareholder, Carl Icahn. Net income was $12.2 million, compared to a net loss of $64.1 million a year earlier. And earnings per share were nine cents, beating the Wall Street consensus of six cents.

Television production revenue increased 27% to $68.7 million. Domestic series licensing in TV increased 24% to $49.9 million. International TV revenue was up 61% to $12.6 million.

Several of the company’s most lucrative TV series are produced by Tyler Perry, as are some of its most successful movies. So it is hardly surprising that Lionsgate is stepping up its collaboration with Perry. In his conference call with Wall Street analysts CEO Jon Feltheimer confirmed a report in the New York Times that Lionsgate is working on the possible launch of a new cable TV network in a partnership with Perry – much like the partnership between Discovery and Oprah Winfrey on OWN. The Times report said the channel would be called Tyler TV, but Feltheimer declined to confirm that or provide any details of the potential venture.

“Tyler is one of those rare resources that one could launch a channel with,” Feltheimer said. “We have a lot of options if we choose to go down that path.”

RBR-TVBR observation: It looks like the battle for the African-American audience is heating up. Bob Johnson’s BET (now owned by Viacom) had the market pretty much to itself for a long time until TV One came along. Now Bounce is ramping up and it looks like Tyler Perry will team with Lionsgate for a channel that would likely be focused on sitcoms and comedy movies.