Lionsgate Exploring Standalone SVOD Service for its Horror Catalogue
Yesterday Lionsgate provided investors and the media with an update on the company’s financial outlook, and a few things that were mentioned should be of interest specifically to us horror fans.
First, per Home Media Magazine, Steve Beeks, co-COO and president of the motion picture group, was asked about the company’s response to the resurgence in Blu-ray Disc and the format’s link to 4K resolution. While not addressing Blu-ray specifically, Beeks said Lionsgate has been a longtime proponent of new video formats such as DVD, Blu-ray, and digital; and with consumers “definitely” moving toward consuming 4K content, he promised, “We are getting ready for it. We’re having conversations with some of the MVPDs [multichannel video programming distributors] that are starting 4K [broadcast] channels, and you’ll certainly see some of the library films enter this phase,” Beeks said.
And what should genre fans be aware of? According to the site, Lionsgate is actively looking to take its legacy horror films (i.e., the Saw franchise) direct to the consumer. With AMC Network’s recently launched standalone horror SVOD (Subscription Video on Demand) platform Shudder leading the way, Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer thinks there’s room for additional players willing to push the envelope in the genre. “We think it’s a great area for direct-to-consumer and actually to do content that’s way edgier because you don’t have to worry much about various content restrictions in terms of ratings,” he said. “It’s something we’re definitely looking at.”
Lionsgate is already a major content provider to subscription streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu Plus domestically, and they just launched a proprietary OTT video platform with Tribeca Film Festival. The company also has a pending service debut with Comic-Con International.
Lastly, Paramount’s altered theatrical release schedule for the most recent Paranormal Activity film was brought up, and Rob Friedman, co-chairman of the motion picture group at Lionsgate, said they appreciated Paramount for starting the conversation about release windows. “We think it is a real opportunity in our business to look at all sorts of optionality as it relates to bringing our product to the consumer. Whether [Paramount’s test] worked financially well doesn’t really matter. What’s happening with exhibition and the conversation that is going on with distribution partners we think is very healthy,” Friedman said.
What do you guys think? Would you support another horror-specific SVOD outlet, or is the market getting too crowded?