Lionsgate is a film and television production studio that also owns the STARZ premium-cable network and streaming service. Seventy percent of Lionsgate’s operating profit is generated by the STARZ network with the other 30% coming from motion and television production. STARZ is a leading pay television network and streaming service that focuses on premium content targeted towards women and minority audiences. As of March 31, 2021, STARZ has almost 30 million active subscribers with 16.7 million global streaming subscribers. Cord cutting poses less risk to Lionsgate because 80% of its traditional cable subscribers purchase the STARZ network directly.
The company’s television production division has nearly 90 television shows appearing on 40 different networks. The motion pictures division annually releases about 40 feature films, with 10 to 15 of those films slated for wide global release. The company also owns a proprietary film and television library of over 17,000 titles from Lionsgate, A&E, CBS Films, Trimark, Miramax and others. The company’s television library includes shows like Mad Men, Orange is the New Black and Weeds, while the film library includes titles like John Wick, Hunger Games and Twilight.
During the global pandemic it would have been easy to assume that Lionsgate’s results would suffer, but the company was able to generate almost $800MM in revenue from its film and media library and grow global streaming subscribers by 69%. Lionsgate also remarked that its customers continue to demonstrate their loyalty as the STARZ network experienced its lowest churn ever. These results during a global pandemic that shut down most television and movie production demonstrate the sustainability of the Lionsgate business.
The STARZ network’s focus on women and underrepresented minorities provides the company a competitive advantage as it allows STARZ to be viewed as a complementary offering relative to the largest streaming services that focus more on mainstream audiences. Of the 15 STARZ original programs currently in production, 10 of these shows are led by women and 6 of these 10 women are women of color. The focus on diversity at Lionsgate also extends beyond the screen, as 65% of the showrunners, writers and directors of STARZ programs are women. In partnership with the Anderson School at UCLA, Lionsgate operates an internship program with Howard University that exposes minority students to the entertainment industry with the goal to increase overall inclusion. Lionsgate has also heightened its focus on diversity within their organization, recently hiring a Chief Diversity Officer and establishing a Diversity Leadership Team chaired by the CEO. With this focus on diversity, it should come as no surprise that Lionsgate’s 11-person Board of Directors consists of 4 women and 2 underrepresented minorities.
These efforts around diversity have not gone unnoticed. Lionsgate has been recognized by the Bloomberg Gender Equality Index for three straight years for providing an inclusive work environment, supporting work-life balance and offering flexible work arrangements. The company has also received a perfect score from the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index and is recognized as one of the Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality. By prioritizing diversity and inclusion, Lionsgate has been able to retain a talented workforce and create a competitive advantage.
By Marcus Moore
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