The specter of 2015’s successful James Bond film Spectre hovered over MGM’s financial results for Q4. But although film content revenue fell with no 2016 release that matched Bond, improvements in the TV business contributed to a lift in the bottom line.
With the strong numbers, CEO Gary Barber told investors today that MGM plans to boost its content spending significantly this year to as much as $440 million, from $218 million in 2016.
That will result in “meaningful growth in 2018 and beyond,” he says.
Barber adds that the “increasing diversification of our premium content, combined with our extensive library and sound financial stewardship, puts us in a very favorable position to continue to deliver reliable financial performance and execute on our strategic growth initiatives.”
In Q4, net income improved 54.9% to $53.6 million on revenues of $302.5 million, down 57.2%.
Without Bond, revenue for film content plummeted 64.4% to $219.3 million, with an operating contribution down 18.3% to $79.3 million. Theatrical accounted for most of the decline, though home entertainment for the category also fell without the Bond-related sales that surrounded the appearance of Spectre in theaters in 2015.
The television content unit — which includes United Artists Media Group after MGM in January bought the 45% it didn’t already own — saw revenues fall 8.8% to $68.1 million, but with a contribution up 117% to $33.9 million.
Barber says he “excited by the strength and diversification of our premium content,” which includes five scripted series and 12 unscripted. He talked up the April 26 premiere of The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu as well as series including History’s Vikings and MTV’s Teen Wolf.