Whoever said television is bad for you might want to chat with shareholders of Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (NYSE:LGF-A). Lions Gate stock climbed more than 5% Friday after the company announced fiscal second-quarter 2015 results.
Revenue rose 11% year over year, to $552.9 million, which translated to 30% growth in adjusted net income, to $33 million, or $0.24 per share. Adjusted EBITDA climbed 4%, to $59 million. Analysts, on average, were only looking for earnings of $0.13 per share on sales of $527.1 million.
Lions Gate also increased its quarterly dividend by $0.02, to $0.07 per share, and saw filmed entertainment backlog increase by $100 million year over year, to $1.3 billion.
Small screen, big profits
Lions Gate CEO John Feltheimer elaborated, "We're pleased that our entire portfolio of businesses contributed to our solid results in the quarter, driven by a particularly strong performance from our television operations."
Television Production segment revenue jumped more than 140% year over year, to $154.9 million. Fifty-five episodes and 38.5 hours of domestic TV were delivered during the quarter -- compared to 20 episodes and 11 hours this time last year -- including episodes of Manhattan, Mad Men, Houdini, Nashville, Anger Management, and Orange is the New Black. The latter three also enjoyed particularly strong international sales.
Meanwhile, overall Motion Picture segment revenue declined by 8.4% million year over year, to $398 million, primarily as Lions Gate only had two wide theatrical releases in The Expendables 3 and Step Up All In. During last year's fiscal Q2, Lions Gate not only enjoyed two wide releases, but also saw significant continuing revenue from the May, 2013 release of Now You See Me, and the record-setting Spanish-language release of Instructions Not Included. Thanks both to the pay television window opening for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and the free television window opening for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1, television revenue included in LionsGate's Motion Picture segment more than doubled, to $69.4 million in the quarter.
Breaking those results down a bit further, home entertainment revenue held up reasonably well, down 21.7%, to $164.4 million, thanks mostly to a difficult comparison with last year's strong performances from Managed Brands and Now You See Me. Even so, management credited "the outstanding home entertainment performance of Divergent in the current quarter" with helping close the gap.
Next, Lions Gate's International Motion Picture segment revenue fell 14.8%, to $75.6 million. But that also excludes revenue from Lionsgate U.K. -- where the company recently relocated its international sales and distribution organization -- which climbed 38%, to $37.3 million.
Coming up next...
Of course, we shouldn't forget The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, which is set to open on almost 10,000 screens in North America on Nov. 21, 2014. Considering 2012's The Hunger Games and last year's The Hunger Games: Catching Fire achieved worldwide box office grosses of $691.2 million and $864.6 million, respectively, few would be surprised if Mockingjay Part 1 manages to up the ante, once again.
But Feltheimer also noted Lions Gate has continued putting together a strong pipeline of new properties. Among the examples he pointed out during the subsequent conference call are next fall's promising release of The Last Witch Hunter starring Vin Diesel, the 2016 debut of Gods of Egypt starring Gerard Butler, and the summer 2016 release of Now You See Me 2, which begins shooting in London next month. That's also not to mention next year's already-set release of Mockingjay Part 2, as well as three more films planned for early 2015, 2016, and 2017 to wrap up the Divergent franchise.
While this quarter was definitely solid, it looks like Lions Gate has what it takes to continue gobbling up an increasing slice of consumers' attention and entertainment dollars for the foreseeable future.