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Lionsgate, Hemisphere Link Up for SVOD Movie Service

Netflix and Amazon Video now have a little Latino competition to contend with.

The yet-to-be-named first-ever Spanish-language subscription video-on-demand feature film service targeting U.S. Hispanics is set for a 2017 launch. The service is a partnership between Hollywood studio Lionsgate and Hemisphere Media Group, owner of such U.S.-distributed pay TV networks as Cinelatino.

The arrangement calls for Hemisphere to take a minority equity stake in the venture, allowing it to leverage its library of Spanish-language theatrical releases.

For its part, Hemisphere will contribute Spanish-language films from Pantelion Films, Lionsgate's joint venture with Televisa. Hollywood films from Lionsgate's 16,000-title library and other catalogs dubbed into Spanish will also be found on the service.

Pantelion Films holds the rights to more than 70% of the top-grossing films from Mexico over the past five years, including Instructions Not Included, starring Eugenio Derbez, and the animated Un Gallo Con Muchos Huevos.

The venture's streaming platform will be the exclusive first SVOD/pay television window for Pantelion movies. 

Unvision Communications will market and distribute the SVOD service, offering it to cable and satellite operators individually, as well as in tandem with its own Univision NOW service for its two broadcast networks, Univision and UniMás. 

Univision will also license titles from its classic Latino cinema library to the new service.

"The addition of Hemisphere and its deep library of titles significantly expands the content offerings of a platform that is positioned to become the leading Spanish-language premium movie service in the U.S.," Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer said.  "We're pleased to welcome Alan Sokol, Jim McNamara and the Hemisphere team to a partnership that combines great content, rich experience serving the Latino movie-going audience and a dynamic market opportunity." 

“We’re excited to be partnering with Lionsgate to help launch the definitive streaming service for the millions of Spanish-language movie lovers in the U.S., who traditionally over-index on media consumption,” Hemisphere CEO Alan Sokol said. “The service brings together many of the top names in Hispanic media and will offer an unparalleled collection of world-class movies and a compelling way for Spanish-speaking and bilingual consumers to access it.”

The new premium movie service joins a growing portfolio of Lionsgate SVOD services that already includes Tribeca Shortlist, launched with Tribeca Enterprises in fall 2015.