The premium video service is performing well financially and is “going to start looking at original series,” Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer told analysts this morning. Co-owned by his company, Viacom, and MGM, “we’re capable of creating some cool original content.” And it should help EPIX as it negotiates carriage deals with cable and satellite companies. “One or two great scripted shows can drive an entire channel or network, so they’d consider it a plus for us.” Indeed, Feltheimer says, execs are engaged in “pretty significant conversations with [pay TV distributors] who look at EPIX as a channel that they can use in a smart way” as they craft streaming TV Everywhere packages. “We’ve got a fantastic theatrical line-up” that includes “a lot of original stuff, but not scripted.”
In response to a question, Feltheimer didn’t rule out the possibility of releasing some films to home video at about the same time they open in theaters — an idea that Netflix has recently promoted to the chagrin of theater owners. “These will be game-time decisions,” he says. The studio weighs two considerations: whether there’s “a smart or smarter economic model” that won’t cannibalize other businesses, and whether it can do something “that all of our partners will benefit from as opposed to one of them.”
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