The job of maintaining Lionsgate’s uniquely integrated focus on digital and physical media falls squarely on the shoulders of Jim Packer and Ron Schwartz, who in 2014 were promoted to co-heads of Lionsgate Worldwide Home Entertainment Operations. Schwartz, a 23-year veteran of Lionsgate and its predecessor companies, is president of Lionsgate Home Entertainment. Packer, a relative newcomer who joined Lionsgate in 2011, is president of worldwide television and digital distribution. Together they manage one of the industry’s largest home entertainment libraries, with some 16,000 film and TV titles including the “Hunger Games,” “Divergent” and “Twilight” franchises, and “Orange Is the New Black.”
“We believe that there are almost limitless opportunities for content creators and distributors to form new alliances that reflect new approaches to storytelling, new ways to deliver our content and new technologies to enhance its value and enrich the home entertainment experience for our customers,” Schwartz says.
Under the leadership of Packer and Schwartz, Lionsgate is a trendsetter in customizing home entertainment release strategies to wring maximum revenue from established and emerging platforms, including early EST, early VOD and day-and-date theatrical and digital release windows.
The studio’s home entertainment operation continues to better the industry average in its DVD, VOD and digital-to-box office conversion rate. In 2013, Lionsgate again showed how it’s an early adopter.
“We were the first outside studio to join Comcast when they entered the electronic sell-through space as well as partnering with them on an immersive digital experience for our film ‘Divergent,’ and they have become a leader in enlarging and enriching the digital home entertainment experience for consumers,” Packer says. “As our next-generation customers continue to expect new windowing and pricing strategies, we want to remain a first mover in partnering with our distributors and retailers to serve their needs.”
Packer also oversees the worldwide distribution of Lionsgate’s TV productions and the licensing of its feature films for television. Before joining Lionsgate, Packer over eight years held a series of executive positions at MGM, culminating in his role as co-president of MGM’s worldwide television operation.
Schwartz is also a member of Lionsgate’s acquisition team for the studio’s growing specialty theatrical business. Prior to his current position, Schwartz held a series of leadership positions with Lionsgate Home Entertainment in which he played a key role in the company’s adoption of new technologies and formats including Blu-ray and UltraViolet. He joined Trimark, in 1992.