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Edited Transcript of LGF earnings conference call or presentation 8-Nov-18 10:00pm GMT

Q2 2019 Lions Gate Entertainment Corp Earnings Call

SANTA MONICA Nov 17, 2018 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of Lions Gate Entertainment Corp earnings conference call or presentation Thursday, November 8, 2018 at 10:00:00pm GMT

TEXT version of Transcript

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Corporate Participants

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* Christopher P. Albrecht

Starz, LLC - CEO

* James Milton Marsh

Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. - Senior VP & Head of IR

* James W. Barge

Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. - CFO

* Jon Feltheimer

Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. - CEO & Director

* Joseph Drake

Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. - Chairman of Motion Picture Group

* Kevin Beggs

Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. - Chairman of Lionsgate Television Group

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Conference Call Participants

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* Amy Yong

Macquarie Research - Analyst

* Anthony Richard Duplisea

SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc., Research Division - Associate

* Aravinda Suranimala Galappatthige

Canaccord Genuity Limited, Research Division - MD

* Barton Evans Crockett

B. Riley FBR, Inc., Research Division - Analyst

* David Carl Joyce

Evercore ISI Institutional Equities, Research Division - MD & Senior Analyst

* Steven Lee Cahall

RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division - Analyst

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Presentation

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Operator [1]

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Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by, and welcome to the Lionsgate Fiscal 2019 Second Quarter earnings call. (Operator Instructions) And as a reminder, this conference is being recorded. I would now like to turn the conference over to our host, James Marsh, Head of Investor Relations. Please go ahead, sir.

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James Milton Marsh, Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. - Senior VP & Head of IR [2]

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Great. Thanks, Tanya, and good afternoon, everyone. Thanks for joining us today for the Lionsgate Fiscal 2019 Second Quarter Conference Call. We'll begin with opening remarks from our CEO, Jon Feltheimer; followed by remarks from our CFO, Jimmy Barge. After their remarks, we'll open the call up for questions. Also joining us on the call today are Vice Chairman, Michael Burns; Starz President and COO Chris Albrecht; Starz COO, Jeff Hirsch; Starz CFO, Scott Macdonald; Lionsgate COO, Brian Goldsmith; Chairman of the Motion Picture Group, Joe Drake; and Chairman of the TV Group, Kevin Beggs; CEO of the TV Group, Laura Kennedy; and Chief Accounting Officer, Rick Prell. The matters discussed in this call today include forward-looking statements, including those regarding the performance of future fiscal years. Such statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties. Actual results could materially differ and adversely from those described in the forward-looking statements as a result of various factors, including the risk factors set forth in Lionsgate's most recent annual report and Form 10-K as amended in Lionsgate's most recent quarterly report on Form 10-Q filed with the SEC. The company undertakes no obligation to publicly release the result of any revisions to these forward-looking statements that may be made to reflect any future events or circumstances.

With that, I'll turn the call over to Jon. Jon?

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Jon Feltheimer, Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. - CEO & Director [3]

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Thank you, James, and thank you all for joining us this afternoon. We just reported a strong quarter, with robust free cash flow and record growth at Starz. During the quarter, Starz continued to build on its strengths as a modern data-driven premium streaming platform, well-differentiated from our competitors, positioned to become an integral part of the bundles and packages emerging throughout our ecosystem. Driven by a sequential quarterly increase of 1.3 million domestic subs, growth of over-the-top subs to well over 3 million and an increase in MVPD subs for the second straight quarter, Starz achieved its best revenue growth in more than 10 years. These results reflect everything we've been learning from our data initiatives about how to reach, engage and retain our customers as we continue to build strong and sustainable growth. Our strategy at Starz is working. With hit series Power, Outlander and American Gods leading a robust slate of premium programming, unparalleled content availability, unique speed-to-market and enhanced data flow, enabling us to target our programming ever more efficiently to our consumers, we have all the elements in place to continue to extend our domestic footprint, execute our international expansion and drive subscriber growth worldwide.

Turning to our film business, our Motion Picture Group turned in a solid performance in the quarter as ancillaries overperformed expectations, reflecting the vibrant demand for movies from all parts of our media environment. A Simple Favor ended the quarter on a high note, and we're very bullish about the slate of star-driven titles that Joe and his team are assembling, and which we'll begin rolling out in theaters early next year. Our partnership with 3 Arts Entertainment is already bearing fruit, deepening talent relationships across our company and turbocharging our television group with exciting new projects. Thanks in part to its contributions, Lionsgate Television has assembled one of our strongest development slates ever.

Today, instead of drilling down on developments in each of our businesses, I thought this would be a good time to remind everyone about our mission and value proposition as a company. When we started in 2000, the digital transformation of our industry gave us a unique opportunity to create a modern global content company that was different from everyone else. Along the way, we paid careful attention to changes in the marketplace, creating a vibrant television production business by supplying premium content to emerging networks, setting up operations in India and China and expanding our presence in the U.K. and Latin America to capitalize on local market opportunities and bringing our valuable intellectual property to theme parks, virtual reality and other franchise extensions. 2 years ago, as the world moved toward subscription and direct-to-consumer models, we bought the Starz to replace our interest in EPIX, which was underscaled and not a true strategic asset. That has turned out to be a great trade. As I mentioned a moment ago, our domestic over-the-top business is doing extremely well, driven by great programming, extensive data and an expanding distribution footprint. Last month, we launched very strong numbers on the Hulu platform and it's already joining our other virtual MVPD partners as an important contributor to our continued growth. Outside the U.S., our initial Starz launch with Amazon Prime in 6 European countries and our Middle East and North Africa-leading STARZ PLAY Arabia venture have established a strong foundation for the expansion of our international businesses. And as many of you have just read, this afternoon, we announced that we will also launch on Liberty Global's cable platform Virgin Media in the U.K. later this month, making Starz available to their approximately 4 million video subscribers as we continue to offer a compelling value proposition to our diverse and growing portfolio of international partners.

We will announce more international territories and launch partners in the months to come, and as we continue to ever more diligently commit our substantial film, television and library resources to the growth of Starz on a global basis, we see a very clear path to outsized value creation.

Our approach in international is simple. As we've done here in the U.S. for our more than 25 million subscribers, we plan to deliver a premium service distinguished by its breadth and depth of content, speed-to-market and a compelling value proposition as a complement to the basic television package in every market we enter. And in the market we are partnering with distributors who are eager to enhance their content offering and strengthen their value proposition with our exclusive first-run movies, premium original series for targeted audiences and a deep catalog of classic titles. In a world where we expect the average consumer to end up taking multiple streaming services, we have the differentiated content offering and premium brand to be one of them.

With our annual investment in content approaching $2 billion, our release slate of approximately 40 movies a year, our premium Television Production of 50 to 70 shows over dozens of different channels and networks, we remain one of the world's greatest content companies, and we will continue to grow our top and bottom line as well as refresh our nearly 17,000 title library.

But we see the greatest area of value creation going forward as the growth of Starz on a global basis, and we will continue to focus our content and talent initiatives in support of this growth. We believe that our emerging Starz global platform will, in turn, create enormously expanded opportunities and significant incremental profits for the great film and television properties that we will continue to create.

We are clear about who we are, what we do and what we can become. We know that we can achieve success without spending the most or trying to be the biggest. And we have all the tools and the blueprint we need to execute our strategy. We'll be announcing a number of initiatives in the near future that will continue to give you visibility. We work for our shareholders, and as shareholders ourselves, our mission is very clear.

And Jimmy will take you through the quarter.

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James W. Barge, Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. - CFO [4]

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Thanks, John, and good afternoon, everyone. As we discuss the quarterly financial results, I'll also update you on our outlook and balance sheet. For the second quarter, adjusted OIBDA came in at $129 million on revenue of just over $900 million. Starz subs increased nicely in the quarter, driving solid revenue and segment profit growth. Starz reported record growth and Motion Picture Group increased segment profit, despite tough comps related to the slate rollover in the prior year. In the quarter, reported fully diluted earnings per share was a loss of $0.67 per share, while fully diluted adjusted earnings per share was a profit of $0.22 per share. Free cash flow came in at $100 million.

And I'd like to cover some of the performance highlights across our businesses. If it's helpful to you, you can follow along on the updated trending schedules that we have been posted to our website.

In media networks, segment revenue of $377 million was up 5% from the prior year quarter, and was primarily driven by strong over-the-top subscriber growth. Segment profits was $123 million; they were up nearly 20%. Starz ended the quarter with 25.1 million subs, which was up 1.3 million sequentially, and reflects an increase in both MVPD and over-the-top subscribers. As Jon mentioned, this is the second quarter in a row that we increased both traditional and OTT subs. Total domestic over-the-top subs at the end of the quarter came in significantly over 3 million. It's important to remember that these sub numbers only include our domestic business at this stage. And as we mentioned on our year-end fiscal '18 call, we're well positioned to deliver full year-over-year growth on Starz domestic subs in fiscal '19.

In our motion picture segment, revenues were $379 million and segment profits were $13 million, up nearly 45% from the prior year quarter. This was largely driven by strong ancillary performance of our fiscal '18 slate as well as lower-than-anticipated P&A spend.

In our TV production segment, revenue was $152 million in the quarter and $9 million of segment profits compared to $18 million in the prior year quarter, which included the licensing of Power and Ash Versus Evil Dead. Excluding this tough comp, TV segments modestly increased year-over-year.

And looking ahead, we continue to feel comfortable with our guidance of a 3-year adjusted OIBDA CAGR of the mid- to high-single digits.

Now taking a look at our balance sheet. We continue to maintain leverage in the 3.5x to 4x range. Leverage at the end of the quarter ticked down to 3.6x and we continue to maintain significant liquidity with over $370 million of cash on the balance sheet and an undrawn revolver of $1.5 billion.

I'd like to also provide an update on our dissenter liability and the related disclosure describing our settlement. As you can see in our 10-Q, the dissenter liability was fully accrued as of September 30 at $961 million, which is composed of 3 parts: First, it includes the original $800 million or so of purchase price consideration not paid on the $22 million dissenting Starz shares. In addition, it includes roughly $100 million of accrued interest and an incremental $59 million to reach settlement. You will see that the incremental accrual of $59 million hitting our income statement, along with the $55 million net amount related to the previously announced settlement of the fiduciary claim.

As noted, we have ample capacity to fund these settlements with a combination of excess cash on the balance sheet and undrawn revolver. Since we have increasingly unprecedented opportunities to drive long-term shareholder value by investing in Starz global growth opportunities and we plan to fund the dissenter claim with debt as opposed to equity, we do not expect to declare future dividends as we focus on investing capital in our dynamic growth businesses and strengthening our balance sheet, similar to what we did following the Starz transaction.

Now with that, I would like to turn the call over to James for Q&A.

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James Milton Marsh, Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. - Senior VP & Head of IR [5]

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Okay, thanks, Jimmy. Tanya, we can open it up to questions, please.

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Questions and Answers

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Operator [1]

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(Operator Instructions) And we will go to the line of Amy Yong with Macquarie Research.

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Amy Yong, Macquarie Research - Analyst [2]

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I guess, maybe 2 questions. First, on Starz and your international expansion. Maybe if you could talk about how the challenges compare domestic versus international, how you're going to actually attack the markets? I think over time, you've said that maybe you can actually double your subscriber base. Maybe if you could just talk a little bit more about your strategy. And I guess second, Jimmy, now that the dissenter's liability is over, you talked a lot about it reinvesting into the business. Can you just talk about your priorities as cash? Are you going to put it into Starz, motion picture? How should we think about kind of the free cash flow priorities at this point?

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Christopher P. Albrecht, Starz, LLC - CEO [3]

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Amy, it's Chris. Well, regarding Starz international expansion, I mean, we have kind of a 3-pronged strategy. First, being what we call global partners, which is best exemplified by what we're doing right now with Amazon outside the U.S. It's also what we're doing with Amazon inside the U.S. We think that we're going to be able to expand that relationship with Amazon. We announced Virgin Media. There are lots of other potential partners for us that have a lot invested in their own business strategy expanding around the globe and look to sell video content on top of their platforms as well. So we think we're really well positioned to be a go-to market partner with them, to be a long-term partner with them. At the same time, we have an opportunity, like we have with the STARZ PLAY Arabia business, to get into partnerships with people and take advantage of strategic partnerships, to build businesses in territories where we see real opportunities. We're excited about the STARZ PLAY business, continues to grow. It's #1 in the region. And then there's just opportunity to partner with a big telco, like -- or big media company like we're doing in Canada and that business is just in its infancy, but we see a lot of possibilities for that, the rebranding some of their existing assets to Starz. So this is again very, I mean, very early days for us, but we think there's tremendous potential and we think we're well positioned between what Starz does and between the Lionsgate library, which gives us the opportunity to go to market very quickly. We think there's exciting days to come here.

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James W. Barge, Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. - CFO [4]

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And thanks, Amy. Relative to your question on the free cash flow priorities. Look, as you know, we have a strong free cash flow profile, and that's after fully investing across the line in our core businesses. So we're going to continue to support all our core business, but we're particularly excited about this opportunity for the global footprint within Starz. So that will also receive fully funded -- and again, we have strong free cash flow profile to do that.

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Operator [5]

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And next, we'll go to the line of Matt Thornton with SunTrust.

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Anthony Richard Duplisea, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc., Research Division - Associate [6]

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This is Anthony filling in for Matt. Just kind of following up on the international Starz question there. Is there any update on timing of additional launches, especially in France, Italy or Spain? And then would you be able -- would you be willing to quantify where your current rational subs are for Starz?

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Jon Feltheimer, Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. - CEO & Director [7]

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Yes. We haven't started to quantify or report the subs. We'll be updating you on that in the near future. We have announced the launches in those territories, France, Spain, Italy. At the request of our launch partner, we're not announcing who that is, but again, information to come. But there are lots of conversations that are going on, and we've announced 15 territories, I think, in the next 3 years. I can tell you that without promising anything, the conversations that we're having present opportunities well beyond that.

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Operator [8]

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And next, we'll go to the line of Aravinda Galappatthige with Canaccord Genuity.

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Aravinda Suranimala Galappatthige, Canaccord Genuity Limited, Research Division - MD [9]

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I just wanted to get a sense of sort of the magnitude of sort of the Hulu piece of the distribution. Obviously, Amazon has been a huge driver in the past and helping you sort of get to that 3 million OTT subs. When you look at some of these other announcements that you've followed up with, how should we think of the magnitude of each of them? I mean, can Hulu can potentially be as big of the contribution you're getting from Amazon? And then connected to that, are there any fundamental difference in the economics and the structure of these agreements?

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Christopher P. Albrecht, Starz, LLC - CEO [10]

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So Hulu is not included in this quarter that we're reporting now. We've been in business with them for, I think, a little over a week. The early results are promising. We look at their business and the Amazon business as complementary. Their customer base, I think while certainly might cross over in some ways, they're actually in different businesses. Seems like Hulu's done well with other brands that they've launched. We look forward to a good partnership with them. The economics are very good for Starz in these over-the-top wholesale relationships. And we're hopeful that there'll be even more partners announced domestically and globally.

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Aravinda Suranimala Galappatthige, Canaccord Genuity Limited, Research Division - MD [11]

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And just a quick follow-up on sort of the obviously the very strong sub gain in the quarter. A lot of it is -- I think most of it, a substantial portion of it, I assume, is related to the new season of Power. Can you just touch on sort of the retention strategy? I mean, how do you avoid getting too much of a fluctuation in these numbers as these new seasons come in and out? I know that retention programming is a big part of your tactics, but when you think about programming, can you just talk a little bit more about your strategy to kind of make sure these upswings maintain?

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Jon Feltheimer, Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. - CEO & Director [12]

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So look, in any subscription business, you're going to deal with the churn factor. We are getting better at it as we get more data, as we're learning more about the business. Power, obviously a great show for us, but we've had a few weeks in between Power and now the launch of Outlander, which is another hit show for us. We have the second season American Gods coming up, we have returning shows like Counterpart and Vida, Sweetbitter, the next installment of our princess historical franchise in Spanish Princess, new shows like The Rook. This is the best and strongest lineup we've had with the most consistency in Starz' original programming history. Those are the kinds of the things that are essential to be able to continue to show growth. We're not giving any guidance here, but we're very hopeful and encouraged by what we're seeing by the opportunity to roll out with new partners. Someone just mentioned Hulu. And all of these things are going go to go towards helping us to sustain the growth and lower the churn rate, which is part of that growth number.

And I should also say that the deals we've made with Courtney Camp and Curtis 50 Cent Jackson are largely designed to help us expand and extend the Power universe. There's at least 3 shows that we're working on now which would be directed at the Power fan, which is still a growing universe. And we think that, that will be a large and successful part of our programming strategy for years to come.

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Operator [13]

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Next, we'll go to Barton Crockett with B. Riley FBR.

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Barton Evans Crockett, B. Riley FBR, Inc., Research Division - Analyst [14]

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So I was really interested in the sub number, which -- the 1.3 million. And I was wondering if you could tell us a little bit more about how you put up so much more sub growth in this quarter than you did in the year-ago quarter, where I think you put up like 400,000 new subs. And you had a launching in both of those quarters, so they're somewhat comparable. So what is it that worked so much better this year that you didn't have last year that helped drive that growth?

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Jon Feltheimer, Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. - CEO & Director [15]

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Well, I think one thing that's happening is that, as we have talked about, our MVPD partners are not going to abdicate their video business easily. They have innovated with new packaging, they're focused on their video business and we've seen a lot of slowdown in what their losses are. Obviously, there is different situations depending on the MVPD. But that business has been stronger. So on top of that, this data capability that is like new to us, like manna from heaven here for those of us that have been wholesaling through MVPD partners and we just can't seem to get enough of it. We're really applying it at lightning speed back into the marketplace. As I just said, we have a really strong lineup coming. We're looking at who our demographics are. We're focused on places where we think there are available customers, places where we think there's a real demand for not just the shows that we have, but for the -- our subscription service in general, thousands of movies, great tech, great price. And all of these things, Barton, are just going into us getting sharper and better, more informed, more focused, more investment. But just -- we're just getting better.

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Barton Evans Crockett, B. Riley FBR, Inc., Research Division - Analyst [16]

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Okay, that's helpful. Now one other thing on kind of a separate point and maybe more for Jon. But when I look at Lionsgate, before you guys owned Starz, which is really driving the cash flow right now, there was a lot of kind of focus on the cycles of movies. And what we seem to be in right now is kind of a low ebb, I would say, qualitatively in terms of certainly investor excitement about what's happening in your movie production, partly reflected in the segment coming down and the transition in leadership. But looking ahead, could you point to a time when you think if you have a good shot that maybe the excitement coming back around your movie slate, when would that be and what titles would you call out as things could be beacons of hope in the future?

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Jon Feltheimer, Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. - CEO & Director [17]

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Yes. That's a great question. I'm going to let Joe give you the excitement.

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Joseph Drake, Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. - Chairman of Motion Picture Group [18]

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Barton, listen. We've -- with a really clear understanding of the market, we've been making very significant changes, both to the organization and to the content strategy. What I would tell you is that we're now positioned for the future. Some of the changes that we've made includes taking 2 movies that have enormous potential and moving them to dates in early fiscal '20 where they're better positioned to capture more value. So what that does, that sets us up with Madea capping out Q4, and then launching into fiscal '20 with Hellboy in April, John Wick in May, Flarsky in June. We just had a phenomenal test on that movie. And we're going -- and we will be announcing a number of additional, very high potential titles very soon. So what I would say to you is that a lot of the work that's been done to get us in great shape, and you'll start to see the results as you move into the new year.

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Operator [19]

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(Operator Instructions) Next, we'll go to the line of David Joyce with Evercore ISI.

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David Carl Joyce, Evercore ISI Institutional Equities, Research Division - MD & Senior Analyst [20]

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If I could just kind tag on to some of the timing of tent poles and Starz originals to help think this through. Do you still have Chaos Walking slated for March? Or has that been pushed out a bit? Just want to think about the P&A and revenue impact there. And then secondly on the Starz originals, can you quantify the number of hours of originals per quarter that you're ramping up to? Is there any new seasonality in there? Just wanted to think about the sustainability of the demand.

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Christopher P. Albrecht, Starz, LLC - CEO [21]

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On the film side, Chaos is not in March. We're actually been waiting for our 2 lead stars to finish the photography with them, which will happen in February. So that will be -- we'll be dating that movie downstream after we complete that photography.

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Jon Feltheimer, Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. - CEO & Director [22]

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And David, to give you a little perspective on the cadence in the quarter relative to P&A spend, et cetera, since our last call, as Joe mentioned, we've moved some films. We've moved Hellboy into April as well as Flarsky into June. Of course, we've got a big pre-summer release in the context of John Wick 3 that we're very excited about. We will incur, as you would guess to your question is leading to the point that we would have some pre-released P&A spend. You should expect to be higher, then it will fall into this year and Q4. I would also just add with regards to Q2, as I mentioned in my comments, we actually did see a lower than anticipated P&A spend. Some of that was timing; a lot of it was cost containment as well. So that will affect the cadence somewhat as we go into the second half. Chris?

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Christopher P. Albrecht, Starz, LLC - CEO [23]

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With regard to the Starz originals, first of all, everything is included in our current plan, the plans that we've discussed with all of you. We have Outlander on now, we've got Counterpart coming back. We have American Gods, we have Spanish Princess, Vida, Sweetbitter, Rook with 15 episodes of the next season of Power. We're going to be announcing a couple of other shows in the very near future, working on some great project with Lionsgate Continental, very optimistic about that. For this year, we'll look to have pretty close to 100 episodes that include scripted and lower-cost doc series. But I think with -- the focus on the audiences that we're succeeding with and our ability to have this consistency in the market, both from a programming and a marketing point of view, are going to -- it -- the whole is greater than some of the parts as we're getting into this kind of returning series mixed with new series and just critical mass.

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David Carl Joyce, Evercore ISI Institutional Equities, Research Division - MD & Senior Analyst [24]

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And one further one, if I could. When you renewed your Amazon relationship earlier this year, could you help us think about the protections in place there, given some news or some industry rumor that they're seeking greater economics in the video side? How long is your -- the contract with them now?

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Jon Feltheimer, Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. - CEO & Director [25]

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We're in a multiyear contract. The relationship is terrific. I mean, you could just see how we're not just only working and succeeding with them here in the U.S., but they are a very strong partner for us, not just in what we're doing now, but in things that we're talking about doing in the future. The only thing that I've heard about, what I've read in the press is what I've read in the press. This is -- we are talking to them virtually every day, kind of relationship that you just hope to have with a partner, with a wholesale partner. It's a good deal for both sides. They are incented to grow because we all make more money together. So they are the greatest retailers in the world and they are expanding around the world. And they're -- we are friends and we're going to stay friends.

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Operator [26]

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And next, we'll go to the line of Steven Cahall, Royal Bank of Canada.

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Steven Lee Cahall, RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division - Analyst [27]

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Maybe first on Starz OTT subs. I was wondering if you could give us any color on how those subs kind of break between direct to your app versus some of your distribution partners? And is the way that, that's breaking, informs at all your plan to expand internationally? Again, do you do that sort of directly with the app or rely more on those distribution partners? And then maybe one for Kevin. I assume it was not a surprise to have the cancellation of Orange is the New Black after it's run its course. Maybe we could get an update on what the TV content pipeline looks like since that was, I think, a pretty big revenue generator for the segment.

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Jon Feltheimer, Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. - CEO & Director [28]

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On the wholesale versus direct OTT subs, we don't break that out. We just announced Hulu, as we've said, that's a wholesale relationship. We think they'll be continued expansion of those kinds of partnerships. We're very focused on the direct business as well. So we're operating in the U.S. with that dual focus. Outside the U.S., it's much more efficient and economical for us to launch with these big partners. A lot quicker to market, piggybacking on the customer relationships that they already have. Whether or not we augment that with a direct-to-consumer business is something that we'll always be taking a look at, but right now, this global partnership strategy is opportunistic. It's unprecedented for us. We're a uniquely available and with our content machine, very capable partner for them, and we think that there's going to be a lot of noise and reality around the kind of relationships that we can make with these partners as we look to march across the globe.

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Kevin Beggs, Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. - Chairman of Lionsgate Television Group [29]

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And on the TV side -- it's Kevin speaking. Obviously, really proud of the long run that Orange is the New Black has had. It remains 1 of Netflix's most watched shows. We're ending on a high note. Keep in mind, we own that series; we'll be distributing it for years to come. We're already in discussions, and when the timing is right, we'll talk further with Jenji about a potential sequel. And backfilling behind it, being all 3 very high profile shows. One -- 2 that Chris already mentioned, The Rook, which is in postproduction, The Continental, based on the John Wick franchise, which as you know was a very successful film and gaming franchise in the company and that's kind of behind that. And at Showtime, the Kingkiller franchise. All those are either in postproduction or in the writing phase, moving toward production. And then 2 other kind of main priorities, the most important is really more programming and hit in the Starz universe. We have about 10 projects in development behind the ones that are already kind of front-loaded. And the new 3 Arts investment has really been paid off quickly. We have 3 shows in production with them after the close of the deal earlier this summer and about a dozen shows in development all across the TV ecosystem in broadcast, cable and premium. And overall, about 61 projects right now sold, which represents about 3x where we were a year ago this time in terms of development. So the investment pivot toward pods and 3 Arts and with a focus on Starz is really what we're acting on and it feels like it's working and we expect those big hits to come.

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Operator [30]

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(Operator Instructions) And gentlemen, we have no further questions in queue. I'd like to turn it back to James Marsh for closing remarks.

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James Milton Marsh, Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. - Senior VP & Head of IR [31]

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Great, thank you, Tanya. I just want to remind event to please refer to the press releases and events tab under the Investor Relations section of the company's website for any discussion of certain non-GAAP forward-looking measures discussed on this call. With that, we'll wrap it up. Thanks for attending. Good day.

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Operator [32]

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And thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, this conference will be available for replay after 4 p.m. Pacific time today through November 15 at midnight. You may access the AT&T teleconference replay system at any time by dialing 1-800-475-6701 and entering the access code 455454. International participants may dial area code (320) 365-3844. That does conclude our conference for today. Thank you for your participation and for using AT&T Executive TeleConference. You may now disconnect.