Lionsgate Q1 Revenue Slides 16%, But Results Beat Analysts’ Estimates On Lower Costs, Library Boom

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No movie theaters? No problem.

Lionsgate shrugged off a 16% downturn in revenue in its fiscal first quarter to beat Wall Street estimates during the first period entirely defined by COVID-19, which has shuttered theaters, production and much else. The financial performance was driven by lower expenses, stronger home entertainment demand and a record haul for its library, mainly via a licensing deal for Mad Men.

Total revenue of $813.7 — more than one-quarter of which was library-derived — fell from $963.6 million in the same period a year ago. But the lower tally still came in ahead of analysts’ consensus estimate, as did the adjusted earnings per share of 39 cents, which was well ahead of the expectation for 21 cents.

Starz reported 7.4 million domestic OTT subscribers, up from 6.8 million last quarter. Globally, Lionsgate had 11.4 million.

Lionsgate Television Group had all five of its new series — Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, Love Life, Mythic Quest, Hightown and P-Valley — renewed for a sophomore outing. TV production revenue fell 30% to $195.7 million, which the company blamed on production delays related to COVID-19. Profit in the TV group jumped nearly 40% to $34.9 million, however, due to the windfall for Mad Men. The period drama played the streaming field after a lengthy run on Netflix, landing a complex rights agreement involving, Amazon, IMDb TV, AMC and Starz.

Media Networks revenue was flat from the prior year quarter at $367.3 million. The unit’s profit increased 18.5% to $71.8 million thanks to lower losses at StarzPlay International.

Motion Picture revenue dropped 29% to $280.7 million compared with the year-earlier quarter, but profit shot up to $101.1 million from $7.6 million a year ago. The feat of having less money coming in the door but more of it flowing to the bottom line stemmed from the combination of reduced theatrical P&A expenses and increased home entertainment and library revenues.

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