Lionsgate+, the streaming service formerly known as Starzplay International, is set to exit France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Benelux, the Nordics and Japan by the end of the first quarter of 2023. On the face of it, this seems a surprising move: these countries make up almost two thirds of Lionsgate+’s total subscriber count, and its combined subscriptions make it the fourth largest SVOD service across the 13 countries in which it operates, behind Netflix, Disney+ and Prime Video, but in front of Apple TV+, which is present in all 13 countries, and Viaplay, which is available in six of them.
Indeed, according to parent company Lionsgate, the exit territories made up almost two thirds of the SVOD platform’s total subscriber figure in the fourth quarter of 2022, having gone up from around half in the second quarter of 2021. However, while the total subscription figures are high, the exit territories have lower ARPU due to subscribers accessing the service via discounted bundles. The global ARPU of Lionsgate+, for example, was around US$1 per month in Q4 2022, much lower than the direct-to-consumer price point of £5.99 in the UK, for example.
Due to ongoing licensing obligations, as well as its reliance on revenue from selling to other platforms, Lionsgate was also unable to fully leverage its existing catalogue of content for Lionsgate+, which may have limited the service’s appeal. For example, according to Ampere Analytics’ SVOD data, Lionsgate+ offered 68 Lionsgate produced titles in Germany at the end of October 2022 (before announcing the shutdown) – less than the number of Lionsgate titles on rival services Prime Video (136 titles), Netflix (117 titles) and Joyn (87 titles).
“The mini-major studio expects to fare better by licensing more of its titles to other services instead, as it hopes to mitigate the losses from shutting the service in unprofitable markets with new content sales, and a focus on the UK, Canada and Latin America,” explained Jaanika Juntson, Analyst at Ampere Analytics and the author of the report.