Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer told shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting in Toronto that he believes the merger with Starz set to close in fall comes at “exactly the right time” with the cable network’s growing ratings from original programming like Power and Survivor’s Remorse on Sundays, and series like American Gods waiting in the wings.
He also said Lionsgate with Starz will combine to invest $1.8 billion in new film and TV content this year, with plans to make 40 films a year, produce nearly 90 TV series and manage a 16,000-title film and TV library. In a nod to shareholders, Felthelmer said the merger will result in $200 million in combined operating cost synergies and cash tax savings annually.
The premium content to be generated will “allow us to continue to deepen our relationships with current distribution partners as well as to forge alliances with new digital platforms,” he said in remarks to investors and the board of directors in Toronto. He pointed to the exclusive deal announced today between Lionsgate and Vimeo to license content for Vimeo’s global TV store with titles including Orange Is The New Black, Casual, The Royals, Mad Men and Weeds.
It’s the latest digital platform deal joining licensing agreements with YouTube Red, Verizon’s Go90, Steam, Starbreeze and Google’s Daydream VR initiative.
Feltheimer also touted the film division’s six profitable movies in a row. It also has the upcoming La La Land and Hacksaw Ridge likely to be in awards consideration this fall.