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Lionsgate Earnings Top Wall Street Estimates; Starzplay Expanding in Europe

Lionsgate has topped Wall Street estimates by reporting a loss of $7.9 million, or 4 cents per share fully diluted, for its first fiscal quarter ended June 30 on revenues of $932.7 million — far ahead of the analyst estimate of $887 million.

Lionsgate, which reported 8 cents a share and revenue of $1.01 billion in the year-ago quarter, made the earnings announcement Thursday at the close of trading on the New York Stock Exchange. As part of the report, Lionsgate said Starz reported a sequential increase of 300,000 subscribers in the quarter and announced that it has entered agreements to launch Starzplay branded channels in France, Italy, and Spain in addition to the previous launches in the U.K. and Germany.

Shares of Lionsgate Class A stock were up 3.7%, gaining 86 cents to $24 in after-hours trading on Thursday.

“We’re pleased to report a strong quarter with continued robust free cash flow and solid contributions from all of our businesses,” said Lionsgate chief executive officer Jon Feltheimer. “Our global content machine is operating at full throttle, and we continue to invest in a programming and international rollout strategy at Starz that is working. Our initiatives in the quarter continued to strengthen Lionsgate’s stature as a unique and essential part of the media ecosystem.”

The news about Starz comes two years after Lionsgate paid $4.1 billion to buy the premium cable service with the goal of competing effectively with the top-tier conglomerates. It bought management-production powerhouse 3 Arts Entertainment in May for a price estimated at $170 million and announced Thursday that Apple had given a straight-to-series order to its half-hour scripted comedy from Rob McElhenney and Charlie Day.

Media networks segment revenues increased by 3% to $354.9 million due to over-the-top and traditional cable  subscription revenue growth for Starz after adding around 300,000 new customers to reach 23.8 million in total. Segment profits were essentially flat from the prior year quarter due to costs associated with Starz’s international rollout and a moderate increase in domestic marketing spending.

Motion pictures segment revenues decreased by 23% in the quarter due to comparison to a prior year that included significant home entertainment revenue from “John Wick: Chapter 2” and the international “La La Land” revenues. The more recent quarter included “Uncle Drew,” which grossed $42 million domestically, and “Overboard,” which took in $91 million worldwide.

Television production segment revenues increased by 7% to $279.4 million as gains in domestic license fees and international revenue offset the comparison to a prior year quarter, which included a digital media licensing agreement for the Starz series “Power.”  Segment profits decreased by 64% to $15.6 million.

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