The companies announced this morning that Lionsgate now has an “exclusive long-term agreement” to distribute Discovery programming on packaged home video — in other words, DVDs and Blu-ray discs — in the U.S.
They say that the deal “extends the strategic relationship” they announced last month when Discovery bought its shares, and its CEO, David Zaslav, joined Lionsgate’s board. Liberty Media’s John Malone is Discovery’s dominant shareholder. Another company in his orbit, Liberty Global, also bought a 3.4% stake in Lionsgate giving its CEO, Mike Fries, a seat on the studio’s board.
Malone joined the board earlier this year after the studio made a stock swap deal with Starz, which he controls.
Lionsgate’s first home video release for Discovery will be its highly praised, and widely publicized, new documentary: Racing Extinction. Discs will hit the shelves on February 23.
Lionsgate Home Entertainment President Ron Schwartz says the exploration of vanishing species “is a powerful and topical documentary by an acclaimed filmmaker that has taken television audiences by storm, and it reflects the world-class quality of Discovery’s great pipeline of content.”
And Discovery SVP of Digital Distribution and Partnerships Rebecca Glashow praises Lionsgate’s “marketing prowess and distribution expertise.” Racing Extinction “is an ideal title to launch our partnership and create new opportunities for both our companies.”