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Lionsgate pins hopes on international audiences

MUMBAI: For US media and entertainment company Lionsgate, international markets like the UK and France are growing in importance. Their importance is such that the size of viewership in those markets is often a reason why Lionsgate decides to push ahead with a show.

This was revealed today by Lionsgate chairman Kevin Beggs, who delivered the Mipcom 2014 Film and TV Crossroads keynote speech.

“Certain shows we can’t really get behind, because the international won’t be there. Before anything goes out of the door, we have to have a feel that it will work internationally,” he said.

He offered ‘Orange Is the New Black’ as an example of a show the company thought would do well, based on the past performance of ‘Weeds’.

“‘Weeds’ did well for overseas and Jenji Kohan’s sensibility works around the world,” he explained.

Moreover, to grow its presence globally, Lionsgate is focussing on co-production opportunities in markets like the UK and France.

He also spoke about streaming and noted that entry barriers are low. “A streaming service doesn’t need many subscribers to break-even if consumers are willing to buy $5 or $10 (monthly) subscriptions. In fact, a steaming service is easier to launch than a cable channel, which is labour intensive. Expect big brands to jump in.”

He favours skipping a pilot episode and going straight ahead for a full first season of a show. But he also conceded that this is not always possible, because some shows need a pilot.