New Platform is Lionsgate's 3rd OTT Service
SANTA MONICA, Calif. and VANCOUVER, British Columbia, March 31, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF), a premier next generation global content leader, has entered the Kevin Hart business on multiple fronts, the Company announced today. The studio has formed a partnership with Hart and his company, Hartbeat Digital, to launch a new video-on-demand service, Laugh Out Loud, and create a new social adventure mobile tablet game, initiatives that further expand the global entertainment icon's multi-faceted career.
The new OTT service will serve as the exclusive home for all content created by Hart outside his theatrical and live touring activities and will include original series starring Hart. One of the first shows being developed is a hidden camera premium original series in which Hart stars as an undercover Lyft driver.
Laugh Out Loud will also showcase content curated by Hart along with shows featuring social media stars and up and coming comedians, including a series starring social media phenomenon Logan Paul, the most viewed content creator on Facebook (300 million video views last month) and Vine (nearly 4 billion loops).
Codeblack CEO Jeff Clanagan, who has served as Hart's business partner for the past 10 years, has been named President of the new service as well as President of Hart's company, Hartbeat Digital.
As part of the multi-faceted relationship, Lionsgate will also join with Hart and game developer Fifth Journey to create a social adventure mobile game starring and written in collaboration with Hart. Players become comedic rock stars with Hart as their mentor, embarking on adventures that include touring the country, starring in movies, hosting award shows and more. Game choices, mini-games and features will incorporate Hart's trademark humor and emphasize positivity.
One of this generation's biggest and most versatile stars, Hart has established a major presence in film, television and on tour, building a global fan base that includes 80 million followers. He has starred in smash box office hits including the Ride Along and Think like a Man franchises, Get Hard, The Wedding Ringer, About Last Night and Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain which have collectively grossed over $1 billion at the global box office. His upcoming feature film releases include Central Intelligence (opposite Dwayne Johnson) and Kevin Hart: What Now?
Hart's comedy tours have sold out venues around the world, including the Seriously Funny, Laugh at My Pain and Let Me Explain tours, which have all spawned hit stand-up comedy movies. His current sold out What Now? international tour is the biggest-grossing comedy tour of all time, and the movie component was filmed in front of a record 52,000 fans at the Philadelphia Eagles' home stadium.
Hart is also the co-creator, writer, executive producer and star of the television series "Real Husbands of Hollywood." He has won three NAACP Image Awards, two Teen Choice Awards, a BET Award and a Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award.
"Lionsgate has always been a great partner of mine, and I'm more than excited to take our business and creative relationship to new levels," said Hart. "I understand the direction in which the television business is headed, and I see this big new space toward which audiences are starting to gravitate. I believe that launching this venture together now puts us ahead of the pack."
"Kevin is one of the biggest stars in the world, and we're proud to kick off our partnership with a new OTT platform as well as a mobile game, extending a collaboration that began with the film Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain," said Lionsgate Chief Executive Officer Jon Feltheimer. "He is an incredibly versatile talent who will bring his unique comedic voice to Laugh Out Loud's entire spectrum of original content, and his ever-expanding global fan base gives both initiatives tremendous growth potential. Nobody understands how to continue extending Kevin's brand better than Jeff Clanagan, and we're pleased that he will lead the new platform's growth."
"During his rise to global superstardom, Kevin has not only emerged as a singular and visionary talent but as an incredibly successful entrepreneur with tremendous business instincts that match his prodigious creative skills," said Clanagan. "The Kevin Hart brand speaks for itself, and his combination of creative brilliance and financial acumen position Laugh Out Loud and his social game to continue expanding his global fan base while introducing his comedic genius to a whole new online audience."
The deal was negotiated by Stephen Barnes of Barnes Morris Klein & Yorn for Kevin Hart and by Lionsgate Executive Vice President, Corporate Development Laura Kennedy and Lionsgate Executive Vice President & Deputy General Counsel Audrey Lee for Lionsgate. Lionsgate President of Interactive Ventures & Games Peter Levin and executive Daniel Engelhardt handled the social adventure game negotiations for Lionsgate.
The new platform joins a growing suite of Lionsgate OTT services featuring branded, targeted content for affinity audiences including Tribeca ShortList, which launched last fall in partnership with Tribeca Enterprises, and Comic-Con HQ, which debuts this summer in partnership with Comic-Con International.
Lionsgate is a premier next generation global content leader with a diversified presence in motion picture production and distribution, television programming and syndication, home entertainment, international distribution and sales, branded channel platforms, interactive ventures and games, and location-based entertainment. The Company has nearly 80 television shows on 40 different networks spanning its primetime production, distribution and syndication businesses. These include the critically-acclaimed hit series Orange is the New Black, the hit broadcast network series Nashville, the syndication successes The Wendy Williams Show and Celebrity Name Game (with FremantleMedia), the breakout series The Royals and the Golden Globe-nominated dramedy Casual.
The Company's feature film business spans eight labels and includes the blockbuster Hunger Games franchise, the Now You See Me, Divergent and John Wick series, Sicario, The Age of Adaline, Roadside Attractions' Love & Mercy and Mr. Holmes, Codeblack Films' Addicted and breakout concert film Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain and Pantelion Films' Instructions Not Included, the highest-grossing Spanish-language film ever released in the U.S.
Lionsgate's home entertainment business is an industry leader in box office-to-DVD and box office-to-VOD revenue conversion rates. Lionsgate handles a prestigious and prolific library of approximately 16,000 motion picture and television titles that is an important source of recurring revenue and serves as the foundation for the growth of the Company's core businesses. The Lionsgate and Summit brands remain synonymous with original, daring, quality entertainment in markets around the world. www.lionsgate.com
Peter D. Wilkes