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Lionsgate sets up shop in India; appoints Rohit Jain as country head

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MUMBAI: Global American content leader and NYSE-listed Lionsgate has finally set up shop in India to tap one of Asia’s biggest media markets. It has appointed Rohit Jain, a media industry veteran, to head the ops here as managing director.

Jain, who till some time back worked with DTH operator Videocon d2h as deputy CEO for seven years contributing to the company’s growth in size and its Nasdaq listing, confirmed to Indiantelevision.com over phone his appointment and opening of the Mumbai office.

Lionsgate India will spearhead all licensing to local linear and digital platforms in the territory from feature films, television series and library content under the Lionsgate and Starz brands.  It will work closely with the studio’s theatrical distribution partners to maximise box office for Lionsgate films, and it will partner with local production companies to develop intellectual property for theatrical release as well as distribution across other media platforms.

Apart from that, Lionsgate India, a 100 per cent subsidiary of its American parent, will also explore investment opportunities throughout the Indian media market.

"We've been focused on the enormous opportunity created by the Indian marketplace for years, and Rohit checks off all the boxes as the right executive to lead our business there," said Lionsgate chief executive officer Jon Feltheimer in an official statement. 

Feltheimer added: "Lionsgate brings to this territory a global content platform, an entrepreneurial mind set, and the agility of a next generation digital age company. Rohit is ideally qualified to leverage these strengths into accelerating growth and new business initiatives in the years ahead.”

Lionsgate has been steadily expanding its global content platform with the continued growth of Lionsgate UK into a leading film and television production and distribution company, a growing operation in China that has established strong relationships with nearly all major platforms in the territory and increased the studio's box office gross by 63 per cent from last year, and a new Canadian office that was opened in Toronto earlier this year.

"I'm thrilled to join Jon and the rest of the Lionsgate team as we continue to build the company's brand in India," according to Jain, a 20 years veteran of the Indian media industry.

Jain further pointed out that as India was the next logical frontier for Lionsgate's multi platform content creation, marketing expertise and digital initiatives, he was “incredibly excited” at the opportunities that lie ahead.

Boasting the world's second largest consumer population and fastest-growing middle class, India has achieved double-digit annual growth across television, film, interactive games and delivery of content to digital platforms.  With over 800 television channels, more than 30 over-the-top platforms, 8,500 theatrical exhibition screens and an evolving interactive game business, opportunities for content producers and distributors are continuing to increase, according to Lionsgate.

In the past few years, the company said it has tripled its revenue from India and made Hindi-language film `Brothers, a remake of Lionsgate's critically-acclaimed `Warrior. A Hindi-language remake of the studio's action hit comedy `Red is also in the works with a possible involvement of Hindi film star Anil Kapoor.

Rohit Tiwari of Morris Street Advisors, who had previously served as Lionsgate's local sales agent in India, has transitioned to a consulting relationship to Lionsgate India, the company said.

The first major new studio in decades, Lionsgate is a global content platform whose films, television series, digital products and linear and over-the-top platforms reach next generation audiences around the world.  In addition to its filmed entertainment, Lionsgate claims its content drives a growing presence in interactive and location-based entertainment, gaming, virtual reality and other new entertainment technologies.

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