Lionsgate reports record revenues of $1.36 bn for 2008

MUMBAI: US film studio Lionsgate has reported revenues of $1.36 billion and a net loss of $74 million for its fiscal year ended 31 March, 2008.

The company noted that revenue growth of 39 per cent from the prior year was driven by strong theatrical box office, increased home entertainment sales, growth in library revenues, continued strength in television production revenues and burgeoning digital revenues. The company reported $511.5 million in fourth quarter revenues, its best quarterly revenue performance.

The net loss was primarily attributable to increased theatrical distribution and marketing expenses in association with the planned growth of the company‘s motion picture slate. Theatrical distribution and marketing expenses of $326.3 million increased 118 per cent from $149.7 million in the previous year.

Lionsgate co-chairman and CEO Jon Feltheimer says, "Every division of the Company made contributions to our tremendous revenue growth, and they have positioned us for continued double-digit revenue growth in fiscal 2009.

"We continue to leverage our vast array of content for large niche audiences into a fast-growing channel business, digital distribution platforms and emerging international opportunities that, in addition to the continued successful operation of our existing core businesses, all set the foundation for long-term profitability and enhanced global recognition of the Lionsgate brand."

The company reported that cash and cash equivalents grew to $371.6 million, its strongest cash position ever after three consecutive years of positive free cash flow in excess of $100 million. The company‘s filmed entertainment backlog also grew to a record $437.4 million at fiscal year-end.

Filmed entertainment backlog represents the amount of future revenue not yet recorded from the licensing of films and television product for television exhibition and in international markets.

Overall motion picture revenue for the year was a record $1.15 billion, an increase of 34.1 per cent from $858.2 million in fiscal 2007, including revenues generated by the September 2007 acquisition of Mandate Pictures. Within the motion picture segment, theatrical revenue was $191.7 million, an increase of 78 per cent from $107.9 million the previous year, propelled by a films like Saw 4, 3:10 To Yuma, The Bank Job and Rambo.

Lionsgate‘s home entertainment revenue was a record $623.5 million in the fiscal year, an 18 per cent increase from $528.3 million in fiscal 2007, reflecting strong sales of films like 3:10 To Yuma, Good Luck, Chuck, Saw 4, The Condemned and Happily N‘Ever After as well as the initial impact of BluRay high-definition disc sales. Another major catalyst for the home entertainment revenue performance was continued strong library sales as Lionsgate reported record catalogue revenues of $263.7 million in fiscal 2008.

Television revenue included in the motion picture segment was $115.9 million in the fiscal year, a 6 per cent increase from $109.3 million in fiscal 2007, led by titles such as Crank, Daddy‘s Little Girls, Employee of The Month, Saw III and The Descent.

Lionsgate also had the strongest international revenue performance in its history, reporting $158.7 million in international revenue in the fiscal year.

Television production revenue was $210.1 million in the fiscal year, an increase of 77 per cent from $118.5 million in fiscal 2007, driven by a mix of deliveries of episodes of in-house productions such as Mad Men (AMC) and Weeds Season 3 (Showtime) .

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