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Encore for Lion pix

MGM library titles to see Starz in $100 mil deal

NEW YORK — MGM will pocket more than $100 million from a 10-year deal to license a total of 1,121 titles from its library to John Malone’s Starz Encore Group. Included are movies from the James Bond, “Pink Panther” and “Rocky” series.

“A number of these movies have not shown up on pay TV without commercials in decades,” said John Sie, founder, chairman and CEO of Starz Encore.

Jim Griffiths, president of worldwide TV distribution for MGM, said the deal not only “generates a great deal of revenue and cash flow from the library titles, but doesn’t encumber us because the Starz windows are short.”

Starz Encore will get separate windows of up to one year each for the majority of the titles, Sie said. In that year, Starz, Encore and all of their multiplex movie channels will get exclusive rights to the movies across all platforms, including broadcast, cable, pay TV, subscription video-on-demand and video streaming over the Internet.

Shopping pix to others

Because the movies will shift in and out of Starz Encore windows, MGM will be able to sell them to other buyers throughout the course of the 10-year license term. And even within Starz’s subscription video-on-demand window, Griffiths said, MGM will be able to sell its movies to distributors of pay-per-view VOD and to the Movie Fly operation in which MGM is a partner.

Deal even permits MGM to join with a strategic partner to set up a 24-hour movie network that would draw on the studio’s massive inventory of more than 5,000 titles, Griffiths said.

Sie said one side benefit of the deal for pay subscribers is that MGM has tied up so many of the titles in broadcast TV and ad-supported cable over the years that they’ve suffered under the yoke of constant commercial interruptions. The James Bond movies, for example, ended up with long exclusive license terms on ABC before shifting to even-longer exclusive stretches on Turner Broadcasting’s TBS.

Other MGM titles in the deal include “Rain Man,” “Leaving Las Vegas,” “The Birdcage,” “Dances With Wolves,” “The Silence of the Lambs,” “Platoon,” “Thelma & Louise,” “The Apartment,” “West Side Story,” “Midnight Cowboy” and “Some Like It Hot.”

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