Cinedigm is betting its future on the rising popularity of streaming services in North America and in China. The Los Angeles-based company said it plans to triple the number of over-the-top services from its current three offerings — the comic-book and fantasy focused CONtv, the documentary-film centric Docurama, and the family-friendly Christian programming of the Dove Channel — to nine by year’s end.
The forthcoming OTT offerings target popular programming niches including HallyPop (Korean pop music), WHAM Network (E-sports) and CombatGo (mixed martial arts).
As the channel portfolio expands, so, too, does Cinedigm’s reach. CEO Chris McGurk said the company’s distribution increased by more than 200 million devices, representing a 91% increase from the prior year.
In the fiscal fourth quarter ended March 31, Cinedigm essentially broke even. It reported a net income of $46,000 compared with a loss of $9.7 million a year ago. Revenues fell to $17.7 million, down 10% from the year-ago figure of $19.6 million. OTT revenues reached $11.5 million for fiscal 2018, an increase of 23% over the prior year.
McGurk today said Cinedigm’s financial and strategic partnership with Beijing-based investment firm Bison Capital has strengthened the company’s balance sheets and created new opportunities in China.
Among the deals McGurk highlighted during today’s earnings call are the alliance with the Starrise Media Holdings to release Hollywood films theatrically and digitally in China. The company also struck agreements with Youku, the streaming service owned by Internet giant Alibaba, and with the China International Cooperation Committee, that would increase the flow of movies and TV shows between China and the U.S.
Through a series of financing transactions, Cinedigm reduced its debt by $71.8 million and secured a new $19 million revolving credit facility with East West Bank to support its content distribution and OTT channel initiatives.