Lionsgate’s Ron Schwartz Upped to Lead Motion Picture Group Distribution

In a nod to strong sales of catalog and other home-bound movies due to the pandemic, longtime home entertainment executive Ron Schwartz has been promoted to lead worldwide distribution for all content in the company’s Motion Picture Group.

Schwartz, who has overseen Lionsgate’s worldwide home entertainment business since 2014, is part of the Motion Picture Group restructuring into four verticals under chairman Joe Drake. The verticals are strategy and innovation, marketing, distribution, and content.

“Strengthening our company for the realities of a rapidly shifting marketplace has been priority one,” Drake said in a statement. “That transformation began well before this year, but the pandemic has accelerated these changes and spurred us to adapt and enhance our flexibility.”

Prior to taking on worldwide duties, Schwartz rose through the ranks of the company, first as EVP and GM of home entertainment operations, and then as president and GM of home entertainment sales and distribution. A 20-year veteran of the company, he has played an instrumental role in the growth of Lionsgate’s third-party distribution and library revenue.

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Jen Hollingsworth will continue as COO of the Motion Picture Group and expand her role to lead the strategy and innovation team. Damon Wolf will expand his global marketing and communications oversight to include all platforms and digital content releases as well as all theatrical and digital releases through the home entertainment window.

With scant theatrical distribution due to the pandemic, Lionsgate has leaned on library and premium VOD to drive fiscal operations this year. Total home entertainment revenue from disc and digital topped $150 million in the most-recent fiscal period. Through six months of the fiscal year, home entertainment revenue remains even at $317.4 million.

More importantly, packaged media, third-party licensing and transactional digital distribution of movies and television library content revenue topped $166.7 million, as library revenue for the trailing 12 months grew to a record $738.5 million, 33% higher than the previous trailing 12-month period.

Motion picture segment profit grew 63% to $83 million, from $51 million, on strong demand for library content and lower distribution and marketing costs due to the lack of theatrical commitments. Top PVOD releases in 2020 include period horror drama Antebellum and faith-based I Still Believe.

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