Lionsgate hits record $845m library revenue, sells Starzplay Arabia interest & “quietly” cuts 150 staff

Schitt’s Creek

Lionsgate has reported a record $845m revenue from its content library over the past 12 months and revealed it sold a partial interest in Dubai-based Starzplay Arabia.

The licensing of Canadian comedy Schitt’s Creek, to services such as Hulu in the US, was noted as a particular driver, with library revenue for the third quarter hitting a record $277m, up 55% from the prior year quarter. On a trailing 12 months basis, library revenue at the studio was a record $845m.

The US company, which owns Outlander and Power Book network Starz and streamer Lionsgate+, also reported an $80.8m content write-down for Q3 2022, which it said was chiefly due to its domestic media networks’ decision to remove certain series from its service.

Lionsgate also said that it sold a partial interest in the Maaz Sheikh-led Starzplay Arabia and recognised a $43m cash gain, with the MENA-based streamer ending the period with 2.1 million subs, up by 100,000 on the previous year.

Speaking on a subsequent earnings call, CFO Jimmy Barge told investors that Lionsgate has also “quietly reduced our workforce” by around 150 full-time employees, representing approximately 10% of its workforce, via restructurings and managing open positions.

Efforts to cut costs come as Lionsgate continues to seek to spin-off or sell pay-TV and streaming business Starz, which Barge said is on track to happen by September 2023.

Lionsgate’s overall revenue for the third quarter was $1bn, with an operating income of $7.8m. CEO Jon Feltheimer said there were “encouraging signs across all of our businesses” as it enters the fourth financial quarter.

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