Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Lionsgate to enter lucrative U.S. cable market

Lionsgate, the movie studio known for producing the Saw horror film franchise, has cut a deal to buy TV Guide Network and for $255 million US from Macrovision Solutions.

With its own cable channel, Lionsgate will be able to broadcast the programming it had originally produced for other cable companies, including Weeds for Showtime and Mad Men for AMC.

Lionsgate says the all-cash acquisition gives it access to 83 million homes that can view the TV Guide Network.

"This is tremendous real estate, rarely available, that fits extremely well with our strategy of combining content creation, distribution and direct access to the consumer," Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer said in a statement.

The firm has already signed a deal with Sony Pictures and U.S. cable provider Comcast to create Fearnet, a video-on-demand channel for horror film fans, and is working with MGM and Paramount Pictures on another movie channel.

Lionsgate was started by Vancouver-based investment banker Frank Giustra in 1997.

It moved most of its operations out of Vancouver in 2005 and sold its Canadian distribution rights to Maple Pictures, which was created by two former Lionsgate executives.

It continues to shoot some of its films and series at Canadian locations.

With files from Canadian Press

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