Feltheimer touts second-screen advantages at CTAM

Lionsgate topper says 'Arbitrage' helped by at-home audience

Lionsgate topper Jon Feltheimer touted subscription video-on-demand services and other second-screen platforms on Monday in his address to the CTAM conference in Orlando, Fla.

At the yearly gathering for Cable & Telecommunications Assn. for Marketing org, Feltheimer said Richard Gere starrer “Arbitrage” has been a hit on VOD, earning $6 million on that platform while also taking in nearly $7 million in theaters. The 2011 pic “Margin Call” also found auds on both big and small screens.

“It’s on-demand revenue that would have been unimaginable for a specialty film just a few years ago,” Feltheimer said. “We’ve found that we’re marketing to two separate audiences. Ninety percent of the ‘Arbitrage’ theatrical audience didn’t know that it was available on VOD, and the vast majority of its VOD audience wasn’t aware that it was also playing in theatres.”

According to Feltheimer, the key to renegotiating the final three seasons of Lionsgate’s “Mad Men” with AMC was in securing the digital rights. Those rights, he said, “Paved the way for the syndication deal with Netflix.” The 1960s-set drama becomes available on Netflix approximately a year after the season begins on AMC.

“Not only was this a monetization strategy for us, it was an engagement strategy as well,” he said. “The show’s exposure to millions of additional Netflix subscribers also drove viewers back to its live airing on AMC and was one of the catalysts for its continued ratings growth.”

One of Feltheimer’s priorities going forward is to raise the profile of Epix, the pay cabler that Lionsgate owns with Viacom and MGM. The timing of Epix’s October 2009 launch on the digital side was opportune, as the partners were able to strike a lucrative output deal with Netflix and is now pushing forward with other digital distribs. It has gained traction among traditional cable operators but has still failed to crack the top three multichannel vid providers: Comcast, DirecTV and Time Warner Cable.

Feltheimer told the CTAM crowd that Epix’s selling points are its movie library, younger demo and flexible pricing structure.

“Epix has attracted subscribers who average almost a full decade younger than subscribers to the other pay networks,” he said. “In a world of disruptive technologies and accelerating change, the simple message is that we have to invest in new approaches, new partnerships and new business models.”

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