Hemisphere Media said it has purchased the remaining 75% interest in Spanish-language SVOD service Pantaya from Lionsgate for $124 million in cash.
In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on April 1, Hemisphere said it funded the purchase through a combination of cash on hand and a $50 million incremental term loan under its existing credit facility. With the deal Hemisphere now owns 100% of Pantaya, up from its original 25% stake.
Pantaya offers more than 400 movies and series and claims about 900,000 subscribers in the U.S. The service was launched in August 2017 and Hemisphere Media estimates it can grow its paying customers to 2.5 million to 3 million by the end of 2025.
“In a very short period of time, Pantaya has become the destination for U.S. Hispanics seeking premium Spanish-language movies and series,” said Hemisphere CEO Alan Sokol in a press release. “... Pantaya’s success to date affirms the tremendous appetite of our audience for our unique content offering. Hemisphere plans to increase investment in content, expanding the output of series and movies, with the goal of accelerating subscriber growth and becoming a ‘must have’ entertainment option for the large and growing U.S. Hispanic audience.”
Pantaya CEO Paul Presburger added that the SVOD service’s attractive price point -- it costs about $5.99 per month -- a user-friendly interface and wide content selection has helped boost subscriber rolls by 40% in the past year. “...we believe we have significant runway for additional expansion ahead,” Presburger said in the release.
Pantaya said it also will create a strategic content relationship with Lionsgate and its international premium subscription service StarzPlay for Spanish-language movies and television series, and that Pantaya will continue to license Spanish-language content from Lionsgate’s 17,000-title film and television library.
“We’re very proud to have helped build Pantaya into the leading premium Spanish-language platform in the U.S., and Hemisphere is the right owner to continue their growth and success,” said Lionsgate chief operating officer Brian Goldsmith said in a press release. “This agreement enables us to maintain a robust strategic content relationship among Lionsgate, StarzPlay and Pantaya that benefits Pantaya’s continued ascendancy.”
Mike Farrell is senior content producer, finance for Multichannel News/B+C, covering finance, operations and M&A at cable operators and networks across the industry. He joined Multichannel News in September 1998 and has written about major deals and top players in the business ever since. He also writes the On The Money blog, offering deeper dives into a wide variety of topics including, retransmission consent, regional sports networks,and streaming video. In 2015 he won the Jesse H. Neal Award for Best Profile, an in-depth look at the Syfy Network’s Sharknado franchise and its impact on the industry.
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