Lionsgate reported its FYQ4 2022 earnings yesterday. Notably, global streaming subscribers were up from 19.7MM in Q3 to 24.5MM. Of those 4.8MM subscribers, 4.3MM were international STARZPLAY subscribers and the rest were implicitly in the U.S. So Starz saw more growth than Netflix in the U.S., which is seeing an increase in churn in the U.S.
I have written often about Starz through the lens of something I labeled the "genre wars" in October 2020, which are "focused, zero-sum conflicts around specific content genres than broader head-to-head, zero-sum conflicts between platforms for the same audience."
Lionsgate described its "genre wars" strategy for Starz in its just-released 10-K. It focuses on "developing and distributing authentic and engaging programming that resonates with women, African American, Latinx and LGBTQIA audiences, all of which have been traditionally underserved in the premium television space.” They also described their library as “a slate of valuable intellectual property with a bold, premium, adult sensibility” on their recent earnings call.
But how much more upside is there to this strategy, especially at a time when the limits of walled gardens are beginning to reveal themselves, and questions? How much longer can it pursue this strategy on its own? And, at a time when it is pursuing a spin-out from Lionsgate, where is its best destination?
The term “genre wars” originated from my skepticism of the term "streaming wars":
By focusing on specific genres, and aggregating them together in a service that both has a clear value proposition and is cheaper than cable, AMC+ can find wins year-round in the genres that Netflix, ...