The execs will have a new descriptive title, as co-heads of worldwide home entertainment, and will continue to report to co-COO and Motion Picture Group President Steve Beeks, the company says this morning. The change will free Beeks, who has also handled home entertainment, to focus more on company strategy and operations. Ron Schwartz is now President of Lionsgate Home Entertainment, up from the gig he landed last year when he cut a new long-term employment agreement and became President of Lionsgate Home Entertainment Sales & Distribution. Jim Packer remains President of Worldwide Television & Digital Distribution, under his new long-term deal, which means he’s the guy who deals with streaming companies such as Netflix and Amazon. Both will “assume expanded responsibility for crafting the marketing strategies of Lionsgate’s Home Entertainment Group worldwide, maintaining the Company’s uniquely integrated focus on digital and physical media as well as planning and executing strategic initiatives to capitalize on emerging opportunities in the global home entertainment marketplace,” the company says.
Lionsgate adds that the promotions illustrate its desire to license movies and TV shows to “a broad and growing spectrum of digital platforms emerging alongside its traditional physical media partners.” For example, Lionsgate signed on early to let cable companies led by Comcast sell electronic downloads of studio content. Lionsgate and Comcast have “a long-term partnership to create motion picture apps built around specific film titles for Xfinity subscribers, beginning with the successful July 2014 launch of the Divergent app,” Lionsgate says. It also “continues to build its prolific and prestigious library of 16,000 motion picture and television titles, complementing its own product with successful third-party distribution agreements with Miramax, Studiocanal, A&E and others.” Lionsgate has experimented with early offerings of titles via electronic sell through (EST), video on demand, and day-and-date theatrical/VOD releases.
“Jim and Ron are ideally qualified to continue building our momentum, generate new opportunities for incremental revenue and margin growth and extend our home entertainment business in exciting new directions,” CEO Jon Feltheimer says. “The emergence of new windows, the entry of new players in the digital space and the continued growth of our content business around the world create a perfect storm of opportunity on which Lionsgate is well positioned to capitalize as a next generation content company.”