Shares of Lions Gate Entertainment (NYSE:LGF-A) were up nearly 5% as of 3 p.m. Friday as investors looked past worse-than-expected earnings results reported Thursday after market close to cheer record TV revenue. Here's a closer look at the final fiscal-fourth-quarter totals versus Wall Street's projections:
|LGF||Revenue||YOY Growth||EPS||YOY Growth|
|Consensus estimate||$672.30 million||(6.9%)||$0.41||(2.4%)|
|Q4 actual||$646.08 million||(10.5%)||$0.39||(7.1%)|
For the fiscal year ended on March 31, Lions Gate reported $2.399.64 billion in revenue and $1.23 a share in profit. Analysts surveyed by S&P Capital IQ were looking for $2.426 billion and $1.39 a share.
Commenting on the results, CEO Jon Feltheimer said in a press release:
We're pleased to report very strong financial results in fiscal 2015, bolstered by a stellar performance from our television business, complemented by a great year on the strategic front as well. With the launch of new strategic initiatives ranging from location-based entertainment and [over-the-top] platforms to video games and virtual reality, exciting new partnerships in China, a robust portfolio of current and future film franchises and the strongest balance sheet in the Company's history, we're very well positioned to capitalize on opportunities throughout our global environment.
What went right: Feltheimer is right about the TV business, which produced a record $579.5 million in fiscal 2015 revenue. Volume drove the gain: Lions Gate delivered 238 episodes and 168 hours of domestic television programming. Replicating that performance won't be easy with Mad Men coming to a close last weekend. The good news? Lions Gate has over $500 million in cash and investments available for expanding its portfolio.
What went wrong: Film production didn't go as well as it could have. Overall motion picture segment revenue declined by 17% on a thinner movie slate. Theatrical revenue fell to $354 million from $524.7 million in the year prior. Expect continued increases in production and acquisition spending as Feltheimer and his team search for ways to expand Lions Gate's portfolio.
What's next: Lions Gate didn't include first-quarter fiscal 2016 estimates in its press release. Analysts tracked by S&P Capital IQ have the company generating $499.25 million in revenue and $0.36 a share in profit after accounting for stock-based compensation and other noncash items. That compares to $449.38 million and $0.34 a share in last year's fiscal first quarter.
Longer term, analysts have Lions Gate growing earnings by an average of 18.7% annually over the next three to five years.
In the meantime, investors should keep a close eye on the box office. Lions Gate had only 10 wide-release theatrical films in fiscal 2015. That number is expected to reach 14 this year, including November's final installment in The Hunger Games series.