Lionsgate distribution chief talks FAST & ad-funded streaming

Jim Packer

As the world’s TV industry gathered in Cannes for MIPCOM 2022, Lionsgate’s president of worldwide TV distribution, Jim Packer, used the event to raise a potential challenge for SVODs – like Netflix plotting a move into advertiser-funded streaming.

Speaking during a conference session entitled The New Rights Picture: What Does Exclusivity Mean Now for Content Owners?, Packer asked “where is the advertiser threshold on some of the content? There’s a lot of edgy content out there, and I see it with our licensing to various AVODs – everybody has a different tolerance. When advertisers start spending money on Netflix, are they going to be comfortable with a series like Orange is the New Black? It’s going to be really interesting to see.”

Extending his point, Packer said SVODs moving towards hybrid business models will represent good business for companies with large family-friendly catalogues.

Packer, who struck a new long-term employment agreement with Lionsgate this week, also provided some insight into Lionsgate’s approach to FAST – a subject that has been very prominent during the market, with Banijay, Fremantle and Samsung all reaffirming their interest in the area.

He said the company is now throwing its weight behind film channel Movie Sphere, giving it a significant upgrade with titles such as The Hurt Locker, The King’s Speech and La La Land. “We’re going in, being forensic and looking at all of our availabilities.” He said the company would even consider putting its movies on the channel for just a week to attract/retain audiences – suggesting a new tactical windowing model.

“You might have a one-week window that you wouldn’t sell to somebody else, but you could use on your own channel.

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