Lionsgate sees a growing opportunity to make and license content online, and as a result has promoted Thomas Hughes to executive vice president of worldwide digital distribution.
Hughes will oversees sales, licensing and distribution to VOD networks, MCNs and online retailers. He will also continue to help Lionsgate launch initiatives on mobile platforms and apps, as well as other new technologies.
According to a company statement Wednesday, Hughes played an instrumental role in Lionsgate becoming the first outside studio to license content to Comcast as part of the multi-system operator’s (MSO) entry into the electronic sell-through space, and he has negotiated global licensing deals with iTunes, Amazon and Xbox. He also helped arrange the release of Hunger Games on digital and VOD, and explored new windowing strategies by Lionsgate, including the day-and-date theatrical/VOD releases of the films Arbitrage and Margin Call.
Hughes, who previously served as Lionsgate’s SVP of worldwide digital, will still report to Lionsgate president of worldwide television & digital distribution Jim Packer.
“Our licensing of film and television content to digital and on-demand platforms around the world is an area of explosive growth, and Thomas will help spearhead our team’s initiatives in capitalizing on emerging opportunities throughout the global marketplace,” said Packer in a statement.
Hughes joined Lionsgate in March 2011 after 3 years in an executive role at MGM.
At the Banff World Media Festival last week, Lionsgate Television Group chairman Kevin Beggs said streaming players like Netflix, Hulu, Yahoo are changing the game and “will redefine the place of television.” The Canadian-American entertainment company has been doing its part to effect that change: it owns the growing BeFit multi-channel network, produces Netflix’s Orange is the New Black (pictured), and recently signed a deal with Freddie Wong’s RocketJump Studios.