January 19, 2018
Cinedigm Jan. 19 announced an alliance with leading China-based Starrise Media Holdings Ltd. to release movies in China theatrically and digitally. The deal also paves the way for Cinedigm to distribute Chinese films in North America.
Los Angeles-based Cinedigm is majority-owned by Hong Kong private equity group Bison Capital.
Hanks He, executive director of Starrise Media, will lead the entertainment fund in the partnership. Chun Chen, who recently joined Cinedigm as the distributor’s China representative and is based overseas, will help coordinate the activities of the two companies.
Cinedigm says it will be one of a few American companies with access to the Chinese theatrical market, where U.S.-produced content generated $3.26 billion dollars at the box office from just 64 releases in 2017. In addition, Cinedigm will gain access to the fast-growing streaming content sector in the country, which generated $7.7 billion in video ad revenues and $1.3 billion in subscription revenues from 535 million video consumers.
In addition to theatrical titles, the partnership plans releasing content into the home entertainment marketplaces in China and North America – focusing on digital platforms.
In addition, the two companies will evaluate opportunities to jointly produce Chinese/American film co-productions.
“Following last year’s key investment by Bison Capital, this deal with Starrise is an important step in implementing our plan to become the first true China/North American studio, strongly and uniquely positioned for high-quality content distribution and OTT channels and services in both hugely important territories,” CEO Chris McGurk said in a statement.
Each company will contribute expertise in local content evaluation and acquisitions, key talent relationships in each territory and quality, comprehensive entertainment distribution and marketing services.
While the initial focus will be on feature films for each territory, future plans also include television and short-form content for planned OTT channels in China and in North America.
“We believe Cinedigm’s unique position in the entertainment marketplace, coupled with their significant experience in OTT channels and digital aggregation, serve as the perfect complement to our strengths in premium content production and distribution in China,” said He.