HONG KONG (December 22, 2011) – Celestial Pictures Limited, Saban Capital Group and Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF) announced today the creation of Celestial Tiger Entertainment (CTE), an independent Asian media company focused on branded pay TV channels, content creation and distribution across Asia.
Celestial Pictures is a wholly owned unit of Astro which owns and operates, among other businesses, the preeminent DTH platform in Malaysia, owns the legendary Shaw Brothers Film Library and distributes movie channels globally; Saban Capital Group is a leading private investment firm specializing in the media, entertainment and communications industries; and Lionsgate is the world’s largest independent filmed entertainment studio.
CTE’s Board of Directors will include representatives from Saban Capital Group, Celestial Pictures and Lionsgate.
CTE brings together a unique bouquet of pay channel offerings for Asian consumers by combining Celestial Pictures’ flagship channels, Celestial Movies, the most broadly distributed 24-hour Chinese movie channel in the world featuring the best of Chinese and other hit Asian films, Celestial Classic Movies, the gateway to an array of Chinese martial arts, drama, comedy and action movie masterpieces, and Celestial Movies On Demand, Celestial’s subscription video on demand service, with the three pay TV channels of Tiger Gate Entertainment, the Lionsgate/Saban Capital Group partnership in Asia — KIX, the ultimate in action entertainment, Thrill, Asia’s only horror and suspense movie channel, and KIX HD, featuring the best of action with a late night dose of thrillers in high definition.
The three companies noted that the alliance is designed to bring their Asian pay TV channel operations to the next level of performance through a significant capital investment by Saban Capital Group and an extension of their channel distribution footprint while achieving significant synergies through a scaled platform. They also noted that CTE will continue to expand and roll out new channels through a combination of organic growth and strategic acquisitions.
Celestial Pictures will continue to own and distribute the legendary Shaw Brothers Film Library and CTE will license content from Celestial Pictures for its channels. CTE will also be the exclusive sales agent for all of Lionsgate’s content in Southeast Asia and China.
Celestial Pictures has been a leader in Asian language film and television production and distribution and operation of TV channels since its formation in 2001. Tiger Gate, founded by William Pfeiffer and Paul Presburger and owned jointly by Lionsgate and Saban Capital Group since April 2010, has launched its branded KIX and Thrill channels on two platforms in Hong Kong, six platforms in Indonesia, two platforms in Singapore, one platform in Thailand and two platforms in the Philippines.
Ross Pollack, CEO of Celestial Pictures Limited, said, “Combining our channel bouquet with Tiger Gate’s channel offerings will create a powerful collection of unique brands with distinctive programming specifically catering to Asian markets. Coupled with the synergies in operations and new content creation for the channels, I am confident that Celestial Tiger Entertainment will create more value for all of the partners involved. We are also pleased to partner with such distinguished and successful companies as Saban Capital Group and Lionsgate.”
“We’re delighted to continue our partnership with Saban Capital Group and join with Celestial Pictures in an alliance that reflects the continued growth of our Asian channel business,” said Lionsgate Co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jon Feltheimer. “Celestial Tiger Entertainment blends the complementary strengths and skill sets of three companies well positioned to capitalize on opportunities in the Asian filmed entertainment and pay TV marketplace and allows us to enrich our pipeline of content and extend our distribution footprint throughout the region.”
Adam Chesnoff, President and Chief Operating Officer of Saban Capital Group, said, “Our investment in this new partnership with both Celestial Pictures and Lionsgate further supports our commitment to the media and entertainment space in Asia. We are pleased to expand our relationship with Lionsgate and to create a new strategic alliance with Celestial Pictures. We are very excited about Celestial Tiger Entertainment’s prospects to build a leading position in channel distribution, content distribution and content creation across Asia.” Chesnoff noted that CTE will be the company’s fourth investment in Asia.
William Pfeiffer, Chief Executive Officer of Tiger Gate, said, “I am thrilled that two of the companies I helped launch are joining forces to create a pay TV platform with unparalleled content, unique strengths and extraordinary resources. CTE will be uniquely positioned as the only company of its size and scope in Asia that is not part of an international media conglomerate.”
Celestial Tiger Entertainment will be headquartered in Hong Kong and will include staff from both Celestial Movies Channels and Tiger Gate.