On January 6, I traveled to Los Angeles for Lionsgate’s MBA Trek. The trek featured presentations by a series of key senior executives. Below is a synopsis of the major business roles (aside from Human Resources and Corporate Finance) that exist in the entertainment industry. While the exact group titles may change from organization to organization, this should serve as functional primer to help guide your research in determining where you might be a fit whether you’re seeking a role at Lionsgate or at a studio more broadly.
Theater Distribution – The theater release is the first window of revenue for a film, so this is a key group. Lionsgate’s Domestic Theatrical Distribution team oversees all aspects of sales and analysis for the U.S. Functions of this group include:
• Sales planning (release date/plan, film rental negotiations, market research/analysis)
• Exhibitor Relations (e.g. in-theater marketing)
• Related research and analysis (e.g. gross reporting, market analysis, analytics)
• Finance (e.g. accounts receivable)
• Operations (e.g. vendor management)
TV Sales – The Lionsgate North American Television Sales group is tasked with the non-theater distribution of content. They oversee distribution to basic cable, subscription cable, SVOD (subscription video-on-demand, e.g. Netfliix, Amazon, Hulu Plus), and AVOD/FVOD (advertiser driven/free video-on-demand, e.g. Hulu, YouTube). Much of their strategy is driven by “windowing”, i.e. the pockets of time after the theater release during which deals can be struck with the various distribution channels. The marketplace is continuously changing so this team manages a number of variables in executing their sales plan, such as challenges with an oversupply of content and limited customers. Some of their projects include reviewing/managing the content rights management system, managing ratings strategy, and developing a strategy around new content acquisition (their current focus is on Sundance greenlights).
Corporate Strategy and Corporate Development – Lionsgate has two teams focused on the overall strategy and growth of the company. The Corporate Development team is focused on finance and strategy, handling the M&A deals. The Business Development and Corporate Strategy team focuses more on new business opportunities (e.g. international SVOD channels, theme parks) and partnerships (e.g. Atom Tickets, Comic Con).
*About Comic Con – This is a joint venture with Lionsgate; the team tasked with the marketing and execution of the event works exclusively with this property. They are taking a more data-driven approach to their 2016 marketing efforts, and seeking to grow in the digital space. Their ultimate goal is to make the pop-culture experience more personal outside of the conference.
TV Marketing – The role of the Worldwide Television Marketing group is to influence and guide the networks in their marketing of Lionsgate product. They provide marketing and creative services in support of all forms of content (scripted, unscripted, music, licensing & sponsorship, etc). Functionally, they support TV Development (pitch materials, consumer marketing, social media, PR & publicity) as well as Worldwide TV Sales (events & PR, marketing, creative).
Digital Sales Planning – The Sales Planning & Analysis team is charged with four primary functions – Forecasting, Greenlighting, Market Analysis, and Digital Strategy. The group relies heavily on data analysis, utilizing tools such as R, Visual Basic and Tableau to create planning dashboards. They also do quite a bit of modeling to determine which projects to greenlight, for measuring ROI on initiatives (e.g. “what effect does a $0.99 rental have on revenues?”), and to evaluate their digital strategy around new releases as well as what is already in their portfolio.
A couple of the groups did mention a specific request for MBA interns this summer:
• Comic Con – looking for 2-3 interns who will focus on the SVOD business
• North American Television Sales – 1 intern
• Digital Sales Planning – 1 intern
Please contact Jana in the CMC for more information about Lionsgate and their opportunities.