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Next TV: 'No Science' to Programming Deals

As Lionsgate plans to gear up its TV production following a larger investment from Liberty Media, Lionsgate TV president Sandra Stern said a willingness to be flexible has played a key role in the company's ability to place shows on newer outlets like Hulu and Netflix. 

“Our claim to fame was that we put more first shows on cable networks,” producing the first originals for such networks as AMC, Starz and others, Stern said in her keynote Q&A at the Next TV Summit in San Francisco Tuesday (Dec. 1). Mark Robichaux, editorial director of Multichannel News, B&C and Ratings Intelligence, moderated the session.

Likewise that same flexible mindset has helped Lionsgate break new ground in the over-the-top (OTT) space, where it has emerged as one of the largest suppliers of programming.

“We did the [deal] for Hulu’s first original show and the first deal with Netflix,” Stern added.

In terms of those deals, Stern said, working with each of the OTT players is different.

“Every time you do a deal with someone, you are reinventing the world,” she said.

In Lionsgate's first deal with Hulu, for example, the SVOD provider wanted to limit its risk, Stern said. Eventually the two copanies agreed to do a revenue share, something no other studio had been willing to accept.

“We were the only one willing to be flexible,” Stern said. “That is what defines us and sets us apart."