Connect with us


Lions Gate Entertainment Corp (LGF.A) (LGF.B) Q1 2021 Earnings Call Transcript | The Motley Fool



Lions Gate Entertainment Corp (LGF.A) (LGF.B) Q1 2021 Earnings Call Transcript | The Motley Fool
Logo of jester cap with thought bubble.

Image source: The Motley Fool.

Lions Gate Entertainment Corp (NYSE:LGF.A) (NYSE:LGF.B)
Q1 2021 Earnings Call
Aug. 06, 2020, 5:00 p.m. ET


  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:


Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by. Welcome to the Lionsgate Entertainment First Quarter 2021 Earnings Call. (Operator Instructions)

I will now turn the conference over to our host, Executive Vice President and Head of Investor Relations. James Marsh. Please go ahead.

James MarshExecutive Vice President and Head of Investor Relations

Good afternoon. Thank you for joining us for the Lionsgate Fiscal 2021 First Quarter Conference Call. We’ll begin with opening remarks from our CEO, Jon Feltheimer; followed by remarks from our CFO, Jimmy Barge. After their remarks, we’ll open the call for questions. Also joining us on the call today are Vice Chairman, Michael Burns; COO, Brian Goldsmith; Chairman of the TV Group, Kevin Beggs; and Chairman of the Motion Picture Group, Joe Drake. And from Starz, we have President and CEO, Jeff Hirsch; CFO, Scott Macdonald; and EVP of International, Superna Kalle. The matters discussed on this call include forward-looking statements, including those regarding the performance of future fiscal years. Such statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially and adversely from those described in the forward-looking statements as a result of a variety of factors. This includes the risk factors set forth in Lionsgate’s most recent annual report on Form 10-K as amended in our most recent quarterly report on Form 10-Q filed with the SEC. The company undertakes no obligation to publicly release the results of any revisions to these forward-looking statements that may be made to reflect any future events or circumstances.

I’ll now turn the call over to Jon. Jon?

Jon FeltheimerChief Executive Officer

Good afternoon. Thank you, James, and thank you all for joining us. I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy. We completed the quarter with strong financial results in an extraordinary environment in which our priorities were evident, monetizing our film and television library, embracing innovative distribution strategies for our films and acquiring new properties while renewing others. Most importantly, it was a quarter in which we continued to use our content engine to create a unique, valuable and scalable global streaming platform at Starz. As I go through a recap of the quarter, one message stands out. Our programming at Starz is working. The identity of the Starz brand is resonating. The growth of its domestic over-the-top business is robust. Its international platform is successfully differentiating itself at a critical inflection point in the marketplace. And the proposition that bringing Lionsgate and Starz together allows us to accelerate the growth of our direct-to-consumer offerings by using the full portfolio of our resources is fulfilling its promise. Let’s start with the quarter’s highlights. Starz programming drove domestic streaming paid subscribers to an all-time high of 7.4 million in the quarter. Internationally, Starz continues to establish itself as a must-have service with continued subscriber growth, an expanding distribution footprint and a best-of-global SVOD content strategy that is resonating with consumers and platform partners alike. Globally, we reached 11.4 million over-the-top subscribers in the quarter, and our growth trajectory is on target for 13 million to 15 million over-the-top subscribers by the end of the fiscal year. It was a productive quarter for our Lion pay television group, as all five of our new series were renewed with Love Life becoming the second most watched series on HBO Max. We entered a lucrative multifaceted syndication deal for Mad Men with Amazon Prime internationally, Amazon’s IMDb TV domestically, AMC and STARZPLAY. We’re readying our next big property, Weeds, for syndication in the fall. And on the heels of last year’s record revenue, our library continued its outsized performance in the quarter as we continue to capitalize on demand for content.

Turning to our individual businesses. Starz continues to differentiate itself as the home for programming for women, African-American and Latinx audiences who have been underserved in the premium TV landscape. The Outlander franchise is stronger than ever, rounding out its fifth season with record multi-platform viewing as it became the number one original series on premium for women. We also successfully launched two new series in a quarter, the crime drama, Hightown, from creator Rebecca Cutter and producer Jerry Bruckheimer, premiered to an all-time high for a new series on the Starz app and grew 33% from its series premiere to its final episode. Its record was broken just a few weeks later when Katori Hall’s P-Valley launched to rave reviews that have propelled audience growth week-over-week since its premier, a rare feat among new shows. Both series are squarely in our wheelhouse of bold, provocative programming that is unique within the premium space, and both have been renewed for second seasons where our research shows that we often see outsized subscriber growth. Understanding the importance of the power franchise, our Lionsgate Television Group is doing a great job getting the next two Power series, Ghost and Raising Kanan, ready for their scheduled launches as our vertical integration gives us an important element of control over the production of our shows. We’re also expanding the world of Outlander with the new docuseries, Men in Kilts, starring Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish. Going forward, we’re continuing to open the creative aperture with a combination of exciting new series, including the comedy, Run The World, from Dear White People, Yvette Lee Bowser; and returning favorites, The Girlfriend Experience from Stephen Soderbergh; and The Spanish Princess, which follows in the footsteps of critically acclaimed The White Queen and The White Princess. It was also a strong quarter internationally.

Planting our flag early in many countries gave STARZPLAY the opportunity to develop relationships with a growing list of established distribution partners and secure an enviable pipeline of exclusive world-class content to deliver on our best of global SVOD strategy. We have positioned ourselves as a destination for premium programming by curating a portfolio of provocative, edgy series, including Normal People, The Great, Ramy and Killing Eve, shows that have garnered a total of 17 Emmy nominations, along with iconic library series such as Mad Men, and our full slate of Starz originals, with STARZPLAY now becoming the exclusive worldwide home of the Power Universe. Earlier this week, STARZPLAY announced its partnership with its sister company, leading Spanish language streaming service, Pantaya, for a slate of original local language titles that reflects our focused, premium approach. Exciting new series ranging from the thriller crime drama, Express, from renowned storyteller, Ivan Escobar; to addictive period pieces, such as Senorita Mexico; and an unfiltered look at the life of international porn star, Nacho Vidal. With a track record of success at Pantelion films, strong subscriber growth at Pantaya and the ability to create the best-in-Spanish-language programming, as evidenced by our 11 recent Imagen Awards nominations, this is a vertical where we can create exceptional value as a true market leader. STARZPLAY’s content strength has made it a must-have service on third-party platforms, as evidenced by the most recent launches on Roku, Apple TV+ and Rakuten, and it’s fueling the growth on our own STARZPLAY app, which we launched in three additional countries. Our bespoke relationships now encompass 58 different international partners who have recognized the appeal of our offering and whose collaboration will continue to serve as an enduring competitive advantage. To sum up, the transition to digital at Starz continues to accelerate. The majority of revenue from our traditional business is migrated to a la carte. We have executed a successful content strategy, and we are continuing to grow a valuable, scalable global streaming platform with unique characteristics that set us apart. Turning to our Motion Picture Group.

It was an active quarter where we moved major franchises forward, resumed theatrical production and demonstrated the flexibility and optionality of our slate. There’s good news on the Hunger Games front. Suzanne Collins Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes has been a smash success, selling more copies than any other book released in the United States in the first six months of the year. With all of the excitement around the franchise, sales of The Hunger Games titles in our library are experiencing growth beyond expectations. And we’re working closely with Suzanne and the rest of the Hunger Games team to get the movie ready for production. We’re also busy preparing scripts for the next two installments of our John Wick action franchise, with John Wick four slated to hit theaters Memorial Day weekend 2022. We hope to shoot both John Wick four and five back-to-back when Keanu becomes available early next year. And to reveal one of the worst kept secrets in Hollywood, we’re pleased to confirm that Jennifer Gray will both executive produce and star in a new Dirty Dancing movie for Lionsgate from Warm Bodies director, Jonathan Levine. It will be exactly the kind of romantic, nostalgic movie that the franchise’s fans have been waiting for and that have made it the biggest selling library title in the company’s history. With the appetite for fresh content at an all-time high and options for consumers dwindling due to the global shutdown, we made it a strategic priority to be one of the first major studios back into production. Over the past five months, we put together a thoughtful strategy to restart production with protocols to best ensure the safety of cast and crew. We recently began production on the thriller horror film, The Devil’s Light in Eastern Europe, and we’re gearing up physical production to begin shooting several other films over the next two months, including The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent starring Nick Cage.

These efforts put us in a strong position to capitalize on a market short on supply. On the distribution front, our slate is well positioned to embrace relief strategies, ranging from global theatrical rollout to PVOD and SVOD launches, giving us new ways to monetize our current pipeline and create new models for the future. This afternoon, we announced that our film, Antebellum, will be released on premium video-on-demand on September 18. An electrifying and urgent movie, our PVOD strategy provides the opportunity to reach the greatest number of people at a moment when it’s central themes are an important part of the national conversation. Our business model is strong and informed by the learnings from our successful PVOD launches of I Still Believe and The Secret. Turning to Television. The most important part of the Mad Men story is yet another reaffirmation of the long-tail value of great library content. Our recent second syndication license of this series is a significant increase in value over its first syndication license eight years ago to Netflix. In a world where people are consuming more content, we believe that this story will be repeated across all the top titles in our library. It was a strong and successful quarter for our Television business. Our output was prolific. Our development pipeline is full. We’re continuing to put new shows on the air, and continuing to ramp up our highest priority, supplying premium scripted series to Starz. And while getting new shows on the air is great, it’s really all about renewals. And this quarter, all five of our new series were renewed. As Love Life, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, Mythic Quest, P-Valley and Hightown begin what we hope will be long runs building evergreen value. We are already preparing to launch the next wave of premium properties. First Ladies at Showtime starring Academy Award winner Viola Davis as former First Lady, Michelle Obama; the Seth Rogen, Sarah Silverman adult comedy, Santa Inc. for HBO Max; and East Wing creator Ali Wentworth’s comedy for Starz, about life in the Reagan White House starring Debra Messing.

With more and more of our creative focus on Starz, we now have more than 20 Lionsgate television series in development, production or ready to launch on the network as we continue to align all of our content businesses where we see the greatest opportunity for growth. During the quarter, our television group was busy establishing protocols to allow us to resume production safely. Though every show represents its own unique set of issues, we will soon have a steady stream of premium scripted series returning to production at the right pace, in the right locations and with the right safeguards in place. Meanwhile, Pilgrim has achieved great success producing unscripted series safely in the current environment, developing procedures that have won acceptance from health officials, local communities, talent and the guilds. They have 21 shows in various stages of production in every part of the country, and they just completed shooting the major competition reality series, The Ultimate Surfer for ABC; and Dodgeball for Discovery. While the new Mike Tyson series, Tyson Vs. Jaws: Rumble On The Reef, is preparing to take a bite out of Discovery Shark Week. It was also an active quarter for Lionsgate 360 collaboration. With our television and motion picture teams together, acquiring the coveted Pulitzer Prize winning 1619 project in partnership with Oprah Winfrey, the New York Times and investigated journalist, Nikole Hannah-Jones, which we will adapt into a portfolio content with some of the greatest African-American storytellers. It’s an exciting reaffirmation of who we are and what we stand for as a company. In that regard as we create new paradigms for operating our business, we also named a Chief Diversity Officer and formed an executive diversity council, which I chair, continuing to strengthen our commitment to diversity in our workforce and ensuring that all of our employees have an equal path to success.

As we think about where the biggest opportunities for value creation lie, we start by looking at the building blocks that we have carefully put into place over the last 20 years. First, assembling libraries in the distribution business to monetize it; second, building a portfolio of dozens of major film and television franchises with renewable evergreen value; third, harnessing that content engine to a captive premium pay channel at Starz; and finally, continuing the transformation of Starz into a premium global streaming platform fueled by our IP and backed by our content library. We’ve already changed the face of Starz in three and half years. From a domestic channel with almost no over-the-top subscribers, to a direct-to-consumer offering with over 7.4 million OTT subscribers today; from a network with no international subscribers, to a global subscription service with over 5.2 million subscribers today; and from a legacy company, generating less than 50% of its revenue from a la carte, to a modern platform generating over 75% today, expected to reach nearly 80% by fiscal year-end. This transformation is still in its early innings, but everything that we’ve seen so far and everything that we saw this quarter, tells us that we’re on the right path to creating something with unique and lasting value for our consumers, partners and shareholders. In closing, this was not only a strong quarter, but one that showcased all of our strengths: resilience in the face of the pandemic, innovation and creating new business models for a changing world, and most importantly, people working together collaboratively to continue to build our company and our brand. Though our environment remains uncertain, our businesses are strong, our balance sheet is healthy, our morale is good, and our own path forward is clear.

Thank you. Now I’ll turn things over to Jimmy.

James W. BargeChief Financial Officer

Thanks, Jon, and good afternoon, everyone. I’ll briefly discuss our fiscal first quarter financial results and provide some color on our outlook. First quarter adjusted OIBDA was $174 million driven by strong Motion Picture Group segment profit performance and record demand for library, with revenue coming in at $814 million. Reported fully diluted earnings per share was $0.23 per share, and fully diluted adjusted earnings per share came in at $0.39 a share. Adjusted free cash flow for the quarter was $77 million. Now let me briefly discuss the first quarter performance of the underlying segments compared to the prior year quarter. You can follow along in our trending schedules that have been posted to our website and show greater detail around our global media network subscribers. Media Networks’ quarterly revenue was $367 million, and segment profit came in at $72 million, up 19% from last year, driven largely by smaller losses at STARZPLAY International. Starz domestic generated 30% profit margins while transitioning one of our largest distributors to an a la carte revenue share model. Globally, on a pro forma basis and including STARZPLAY Arabia, the company added 4.5 million subscribers year-over-year, up 22%, reaching 25 million global subscribers at the end of the quarter. Domestically, total subscribers were 19 million, which was up 2.2 million from the prior year pro forma adjusted for changes in distributor packaging.You can see more detail in the new subscriber disclosure included in our trending schedules. Now looking at sequential performance. Total domestic OTT subscribers were up 600,000 pro forma or 9% sequentially, driven by Outlander and new freshman hit series, Hightown. I’d like to remind you that our sub counts all represent paying subscribers.

Turning to our Motion Picture Group. Revenue declined to $281 million as a result of no theatrical releases in the quarter, combined with tough comps against last year’s strong performance of John Wick Chapter three. Segment profit came in at $101 million, driven by lower P&A spend and demand for high-margin library and segment two titles, which is indicative of the increasing value of our content. As we mentioned on our last call, we expect some Motion Picture Group revenue to shift to the right as theaters remain largely closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And finally, Television segment revenue for the quarter came in at $196 million, while segment profit was $35 million, up 40% year-over-year. The results in TV significantly benefited from our licensing agreement of Mad Men, and we expect the balance of TV segment profit for the year to be weighted to the second half. On the balance sheet, our leverage ended the quarter at 4.1 times adjusted OIBDA, or 3.3 times excluding our investment in STARZPLAY International. We continue to maintain significant liquidity with $376 million of cash on hand and a $1.5 billion undrawn revolver. I would also like to remind you that we have no maturities before the end of fiscal ’23. We remain committed to paying down debt with the bulk of our excess free cash flow. Lastly, we remain very comfortable with our maintenance covenants based on our revised forecast and having further stress tested them for longer production and theatrical delays as well as the potential negative impact of a recession.

Now I’d like to turn the call over to James for Q&A.

Questions and Answers:


(Operator Instructions) We’ll go to the first question, Matthew Thornton with Truist. Please go ahead.

Matthew ThorntonTruist — Analyst

Hey, good afternoon, everyone. Thanks for taking the question. Maybe two, if I could. Maybe just to start, I don’t know if it’s for Jon or for Jimmy. Can you just maybe update us on your thinking around the international expansion? Just how you think you’re pacing relative to the multiyear projections that you guys have put out there? And just kind of remind us maybe how many markets you’re in now and maybe how many you’re targeting? Just a little update there would be helpful. And then just secondly, the library number you put in the release there was a pretty stellar number. Just curious if that’s a reasonable run rate number? Or maybe how we can think about that versus what a normalized number would look like?

Jon FeltheimerChief Executive Officer

Jeff, why don’t you take the first one and then, Jimmy, the second.

Jeffrey A. HirschPresident and Chief Executive Officer

Great. International is doing great. We’re really excited about the progress we’ve made since launch. We are in currently 50 countries, and we feel great about those 50 countries right now. And the goal in each of those territories is to get deeper in terms of our distribution relationships. As Jon mentioned in his remarks, we’ve done 58 different distributor deals over the last 18 months. We continue to see distributors coming to us because the strength of the content that we put on the service. Right now, we’ve got the grade on outside the U.S., and it’s performing really, really well. So we feel great about the trajectory. We think we’re on track to hit the 15 million to 25 million subs that we’ve talked about publicly by 2025, and we feel great about it.

James W. BargeChief Financial Officer

And Matt, regarding your question on library, as you’ve noted, we’ve actually had two back-to-back records in recorded library. We posted over 600 million, which was a record for us in fiscal 2020. And then really a great start to the year with the first quarter, a record 219 million. So for us, this just underlines the increasing value of content. And in fact, as Jon mentioned in his prepared remarks, we saw a significant increase in value going from first to second cycle with Mad Men. So that’s just reaffirming that. I would tell you that this is a very diversified library, driven across both Motion Picture and TV. This just continues to, we believe, be an undervalued asset. And to give you a little perspective, right? If you just took last year’s revenue of $600 million plus, and as we’ve said before, the cash margin on this is 50% plus. If you took that and just put a conservative 10 to 12 times multiple, you can easily see you’re roughly $3 billion to $4 billion in value. There’s another way to look at this, too. You can look at it in sum of the parts, which we just recently had a valuation done on the unsold rights, and it was independently valued at approximately $1.9 billion pre-tax. And if you add to that the contracted backlog that we disclosed in the trending schedule is $1.1 billion, you’re at $3 billion, and then you add development projects and sequel rights and spin-offs, etc., you can see that, that’s very consistent with this multiple approach of $3 billion to $4 billion. So really, whether you look at it on sum of the parts basis or a multiple, you come out somewhere around the $3 billion to $4 billion range.

Matthew ThorntonTruist — Analyst

Great. That’s helpful guys. I’ll jump back in the queue.


Next, we’ll go to the line of Ben Swinburne with Morgan Stanley. Please go ahead.

Jon FeltheimerChief Executive Officer

Hi, Ben.

Ben SwinburneMorgan Stanley — Analyst

Hi, how are you? I think Joe is on the call, I believe. I wanted to ask about the Antebellum PVOD decision. I’m sure you’re not surprised. How do you think about the sort of opportunity with that movie in a premium VOD window relative to your box office expectations? And how do you think about the returns available to the company? I see a lot of this is happening because of the COVID situation or maybe all of it and the lack of a theatrical option. But I’m just wondering, from an analytical finance point of view, how you think about the return on a movie in a PVOD window? And if you think that things have structurally changed in this business over the next couple of years and you’ll be doing more rather than less of this? Or is this truly a temporary phenomenon?

Joe DrakeChairman of the Motion Picture Group

Sure, Ben. Thanks for the question. We listen, I would love to see every one of our movies released theatrically, and we certainly made this one with real theatrical aspirations. We have a great movie. It’s a movie that is also particularly strong because it speaks to this moment in time. So just from a movie meeting cultural moment, there’s just no better time for it to reach its audience, which factored into our decision a little bit, for sure. Also, what I would say to you is that with the extraordinary demand for content and the short supply, what I can tell you is that the economics look really strong. It allows us to still speak to a consumer directly. And yet the downstream appetite and pay and beyond is strong. So what I would say to you is that it’s a really good model for us. We also had a good theatrical model, but we think that in a model like this, you actually accelerate cash and have the same opportunity for upside. So between that and this movie in this moment, it was just the right decision. When you think down the road, what I would tell you is we certainly we believe very much in the theatrical business. And as that opens up, we’ll be ready to exploit it aggressively. And yet, what you have seen in this moment is new opportunities be created. And so I just look I look at the environment. And although it’s a little tough because theaters aren’t open, we’ve got more, I think, optionality and interesting ways to exploit our content to the consumer. And so I think that going forward, we’ll be looking at all of those things.

Ben SwinburneMorgan Stanley — Analyst

If I could just ask a follow-up. One of the things we hear or you read is obviously talent wants their movie, both directors and also, I’m sure participants want their movies released theatrically, not only because they want it theatrically, but they also a lot of the economics are tied to box. Do you view that as a headwind to this model working? Or do you think that this sort of changes in the air and everyone sort of sees the way technology and the consumer are moving?

Joe DrakeChairman of the Motion Picture Group

Yes. I would start by saying we feel like talent. We like we want it in theaters, too. So we all would like that to happen, and we’re all working aggressively. Now we’re back in production already with the idea of there’s a lot of appetite out there to feed. And so it’s something that we’re all looking forward to getting back to. And at the same time, talent wants their stories told and they want to reach an audience. And they’re partners with us. We’re not making the unilateral decision. We very much bring our creative partners into these conversations to make sure that we’re doing the right thing for the movie, both creatively and economically. So it’s you end up having a lot more conversations than you maybe had to before. But at the end of the day, creators want their stories to be seen, and they want to have impact. And so we’re all kind of in it together dealing with the moment.

Ben SwinburneMorgan Stanley — Analyst

Thanks a lot.


And then next, we’ll go to the line of Alan Gould with Loop. Please go ahead.

Alan GouldLoop — Analyst

Thanks for taking my questions. Hello, guys. I have a few questions. First, for Jimmy, leverage took a nice step down. And what we’ve seen with you and all the studios is that there’s been a big pushback on costs till later in the year. Should we expect that reverses a little bit as the year goes on?

James W. BargeChief Financial Officer

Yes, Alan. Listen, in terms of the leverage, thanks, you did note that we significantly delevered since last quarter. Look, we generated nice positive free cash flow after fully investing in our business, and we plan to continue to do that. I would say that on a net debt basis, we reduced net debt almost $100 million over the quarter. And we’ve done so over almost $0.5 billion over the last 18 months. So I expect to continue to manage the net debt at this level or down. And the ultimate leverage will be a context of what the ultimately trailing 12 months are. And as you noted, we were more front-end loaded with this first quarter. So you’d expect that to work a little bit against us over time, but feel very comfortable with where we are in our efforts to continue to delever.

Alan GouldLoop — Analyst

And if I could follow-up on Ben’s PVOD question. Can you give us any sense of what the pricing is, whether the movie will run in theaters after the PVOD window if theaters are opened? And if there’s a back-end share to the theaters?

Joe DrakeChairman of the Motion Picture Group

On Antebellum, it is currently planned at $19.99, and with the idea that we’ll play it all the way through the holidays. There is not currently a plan. There is not currently a theatrical plan. It is to really maximize the opportunity for in this moment for the biggest the widest possible audience to see it. If things change, we’ll certainly take advantage of any opportunity out there.

Alan GouldLoop — Analyst

Okay. And one last one, if I could. Mad Men, did you recognize all of the syndication revenue, second cycle syndication revenue for Mad Men this quarter? Or do you recognize more after Amazon’s exclusive window is over?

Jeffrey A. HirschPresident and Chief Executive Officer

Yes. There’s we recognize a significant portion of it this quarter based on the avails that were available on Amazon. There’s some more vails throughout the year back half, but the majority has been recognized in the quarter.

Alan GouldLoop — Analyst

Okay. Thanks so much.


(Operator Instructions) We’ll next go to the line of Stephen Cahall with Wells Fargo. Please go ahead.

Stephen CahallWells Fargo — Analyst

Thanks. So domestic Starz network revenue has done pretty well. I think it’s only down around 6% from where it was before the Comcast reset. So I was just wondering, are there any more fixed distribution deals coming up in fiscal 2021 that we need to think about? And do you think it’s possible that you might end fiscal 2021 at a network revenue run rate that’s kind of back to where it before that deal reset?

Jeffrey A. HirschPresident and Chief Executive Officer

It’s Jeff. You’ve got a great question. We continue we continue to see great higher ARPU subs on the digital side coming onto the business, which is replacing some of the lower ARPU subs that we saw in the Comcast deal. We continue to work with Comcast. We saw a little slowing of the growth on the a la carte side during the early stages of the stay-at-home order because they were giving away a lot of content, but we have seen acceleration in the July month, and we’re looking forward to having the first Power spin-off in September for the first time under this new deal, so we think we’ll see growth accelerate there as well. We generally don’t talk about our distribution deals. But I would say just normally, we have two to three a year on a normal basis.

Stephen CahallWells Fargo — Analyst

Great. And then maybe, Jeff, while I’ve got you, how many originals do you think is the right amount for Starz on a sort of cadence for your subscribers’ basis? And do you intend to run those on a like one per week? Or might you do more of like a binge type of approach for the Starz content? And then just last one on Starz content, how do you think about having a big movie library versus putting more of that cash into original content?

Jeffrey A. HirschPresident and Chief Executive Officer

It’s a great question. We have a very specific programming strategy as a premium service, which is a non-ad supported, very mature, very adult content that we like to say people are willing to pay for. We don’t have to be as broad and try to service the home as some of the other newer launch services that we have. So we think the right numbers are on 15 originals. That way, we can have one new piece of content or two new pieces of content on the air every week for our two core demos. You couple that with our over 4,000 library titles, plus our Sony Pay one at $8.99, we think we have a really good value proposition to be a complementary service to all of the big services, both domestically and then at $4.99 overseas. So we think that’s the right kind of right mix of services. Remember, this is really about moving the customer from week to week and reducing churn to low single digits. And so it’s really a portfolio approach where we have a piece of content like Power and we come back with a piece of content like P-Valley, where we can move the customer from 10 weeks to 20 weeks and really accelerate the growth in the business. So we think that’s the right mix. In terms of library versus Pay one versus our originals, we’ve got a lot of first-party data off the app. Originals really drive acquisition. Library drives a lot of retention and usage. And so we think there’s a really great combination there. The Sony Pay one continue to drive a lot of usage and acquisition for their really big titles. So we think that’s important. So we think we’ve got the right mix of content at the right price to continue to drive the business and be successful.

Stephen CahallWells Fargo — Analyst

Thank you.


(Operator Instructions) We’ll next go to the line of Doug Creutz with Cowen. Please go ahead.

Doug CreutzCowen — Analyst

Hey, thanks. I’m sure you saw NBCU and AMC signed an interesting deal, which allowed for a PVOD window of 17 days from release in return for some revenue sharing. Just wondered what your thought was of that deal? How important you think it is? And whether you’re looking at any similar deals with your films?

Joe DrakeChairman of the Motion Picture Group

Sure. Thanks. Yes. Thanks, Doug. Look, we there’s some things to really like about that deal. I think one of the things that, I think, is a real standout in it is that it treats all the parties as partners in the theatrical and PVOD space. And so it’s trying to create a partnership model where everybody wins and figure out how it can work for everybody. We like that about it. I think that there’s a ton to unpack. We’re, of course, having our own conversations with all exhibitors, as I’m sure you’d hope and expect. What I will tell you is that, much like what we’re doing with Antebellum, it just creates another opportunity in the marketplace. It creates more optionality for how we can exploit our content. I think for all of us, it’s important to make sure that we’re working hard to lift the theatrical business back up. And at the same time, it’s just a greater reach to audiences who, at the moment, are incredibly hungry for premium content, and there’s just not enough of it out there.

Doug CreutzCowen — Analyst

Great. Thank you.


(Operator Instructions) We’ll next go to Matthew Thornton with Truist. Please go ahead.

Matthew ThorntonTruist — Analyst

Hey guys. One quick follow-up. Any color you can give us just on how to think about linearity this year for Starz subscribers? Obviously, we’ve got the COVID kind of engagement bump in the calendar second quarter, and then we’ve got an original slate that we don’t have great visibility into yet, so that’s going to ebb and flow a little bit as well. Maybe any color you can think about how we should think about the linearity of subs throughout the year. Any milestones we should be thinking about?

Jeffrey A. HirschPresident and Chief Executive Officer

Yes. It’s Jeff. We have the fortune to be almost a year in advance in production. So we don’t expect any interruptions to our slate through the end of the fiscal. And so we have, as we talked about the first Power Universe franchise coming on, on September 6, which obviously is a big driver of subscribers for us. And then we’ve got the Spanish Princess coming behind that, which again is another great driver of subs sitting against the Outlander audience. And so we feel pretty good that the business will continue to accelerate and grow on the digital side. I think as you’ve seen, most of our partners have announced on the traditional side, there is some still weakness there as a lot of our big operating partners transition to a digital product. So we expect that business to continue to shrink at the normal pace that it has over the last couple of quarters. But we do see great acceleration in our OTT service. As Jon said in his prepared remarks, we do believe that globally, we can get the 13 million to 15 million OTT subscribers by the end of the fiscal, and we feel pretty good that we’re on track to hit that range.

Matthew ThorntonTruist — Analyst



(Operator Instructions) And at the moment, we do not have anyone in the queue. So I’ll turn the call back over to James Marsh. Please go ahead.

James MarshExecutive Vice President and Head of Investor Relations

Great. Thanks, Asia. Please refer to our Press Releases and Events tab under the Investor Relations section of the company’s website for a discussion of certain non-GAAP forward-looking measures discussed on this call. Thank you very much.


(Operator Closing Remarks)

Duration: 43 minutes

Call participants:

James MarshExecutive Vice President and Head of Investor Relations

Jon FeltheimerChief Executive Officer

James W. BargeChief Financial Officer

Matthew ThorntonTruist — Analyst

Jeffrey A. HirschPresident and Chief Executive Officer

Ben SwinburneMorgan Stanley — Analyst

Joe DrakeChairman of the Motion Picture Group

Alan GouldLoop — Analyst

Stephen CahallWells Fargo — Analyst

Doug CreutzCowen — Analyst

More LGF.A analysis

Transcript powered by AlphaStreet

This article is a transcript of this conference call produced for The Motley Fool. While we strive for our Foolish Best, there may be errors, omissions, or inaccuracies in this transcript. As with all our articles, The Motley Fool does not assume any responsibility for your use of this content, and we strongly encourage you to do your own research, including listening to the call yourself and reading the company’s SEC filings. Please see our Terms and Conditions for additional details, including our Obligatory Capitalized Disclaimers of Liability.


Capturing the entertainment proclivities of racing fans



Simon Fraser, XB Net: Capturing the entertainment proclivities of racing fans

Simon Fraser, XB Net: Capturing the entertainment proclivities of racing fans
Image Source: XB Net

Simon fraser, Senior Vice President of International at XB Net, discusses how XB Net is taking the sting out of protracted integration processes for sportsbook operators.

Backed by 1/ST Technology, Fraser walks us through the ways that XB Net is helping bettors to engage in all aspects of horse racing, before explaining how the company plans to use the Breeders’ Cup to broaden North American racing’s international reach.

SBC Americas: For those that might not know, can you tell us a little bit about XB Net? What’s the story behind the company and which markets are you targeting?

SF: XB Net provides a comprehensive North American racing service to international gaming operators across both fixed-odds and pool betting. The service covers the popular codes of thoroughbred, quarter-horse, harness and greyhound racing. Our key markets currently include the UK, Ireland, France, Italy, Turkey, Australia and New Zealand.

We manage the rights and distribute this premium content (data, odds, live broadcast and video streaming) on behalf of a broad progressive portfolio of global partners, allowing them to deploy ground-breaking technologies to attract and educate new audiences.

We’re lucky enough to be backed by a true powerhouse in 1/ST Group, whose consumer-facing brand forms a world-class technology, entertainment, and real estate development company with thoroughbred horse racing wagering at its heart – anchored by best-in-breed horse racing operations at the company’s premier racetracks, including (to name but a few): Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park – home of the Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series; Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course – site of the legendary Preakness Stakes.

And now the stateside stage is set for this year’s flagship finale at the Breeders’ Cup World Championships (5-6 November) in Del Mar. It all represents 1/ST’s continued movement towards redefining thoroughbred horse racing for a modern audience, and optimizing the ecosystem that drives it.

As a result, we can draw from an unrivalled network of over 60 North American tracks which account for over 75% of U.S. racing, opening the door to many of the planet’s most prestigious horse races.

SBC Americas: How is XB Net ensuring that it stands out from the competition?

SF: That aforementioned deep well of resources and racetracks isn’t a bad place to start from when you’re trying to positively delineate XB Net from the competition. And as a basic premise, we are planning to work with our partners across the globe to increase the awareness of North American horse racing, both as an exciting sport and as a high-quality betting medium.

By harnessing low-latency feeds from more than 2,500 meetings, showcasing over 25,000 races per year, North American racing is steadily accruing more global viewers and bettors, especially after a spell in which the pandemic has badly disrupted, if not decimated, so many events on the typical sporting calendar. While many of those sports have since recovered from the treatment table, North American racing – which mostly continued unaffected during the outbreak – has largely retained its enlarged audience share.

In the UK, some of that success and enduring retention can be attributed to the popular nightly pictures on Sky Sports Racing, whose friendly, informative GFN was instructive in “home-schooling” many new viewers to North American racing during the lockdowns.

Accordingly, with many heads having been turned by North American racing, the sport is now pulling up a comfortable seat in their wider entertainment choices. Particularly considering the nature of its rapid-cycling events, which conveniently fill the recreational gaps for drop-in audiences who might like a bet. Providing the right content at the right time remains so important, wherever you stick your pin on the international map.

XB Net’s steady stream of short-form premium content captures eyeballs and improves digital hang-time, allowing our partners to engage untapped audiences, deliver 24/7 horse racing, and also guard against any unforeseen impediments to the global sporting calendar.

SBC Americas: Tell us about your EasyGate™ products. How are they eliminating the complexity of North American racing?

SF: EasyGate is a breakthrough multitote technology and software architecture, providing structured race content, betting pathways and secure track video streams to our partners. Long story short, EasyGate navigates an intuitive path through the complexity of North American racing (from streaming formats to different data sources and their multivariate components), and also simplifies access to other content from other countries.

We give operators everything they need to succeed and take the sting out of protracted integration processes – just plug in and go, whatever the channel.

SBC Americas: Tote betting, and arguably horse racing in general, across the UK has had a tricky few years. How is XB Net making sure that racing is still the ‘product of choice’ for your partners?

SF: Our ability to present North American racing as a fixed-odds product allows us to take advantage of the UK market where Tote betting will always be a marginal betting product. Elsewhere, innovation around in-running betting can really allow horse racing to catch-up on any lost ground and reconsolidate its market position.

The complex variables of horse racing have meant this sport, for so long the retention backbone of many operators, hadn’t previously been able to seize the opportunities that other sports have secured with in-play. After all, nowadays, betting products must smoothly transition from pre-play to in-play, which is why operators must employ the latest trading tools and reactive in-play odds to attract modern-day audiences.

XB Net has now successfully trialed a ground-breaking feed that couples the Starting Price with the best of automated trading via Total Performance Data’s (TPD) astonishing array of consequential in-running analytics, including stride length, stride frequency and sectional timings enabled by saddle-cloth GPS tracking. These variables are accordingly harvested in-play by TPD’s machine-learning trading tools whose algorithms train themselves on race pace for precise pricing that delivers a distinct step-change in live fixed-odds wagering.

SBC Americas: How does your company help bolster revenue and support sometimes struggling traditional racetracks?

SF: I’d take issue with the word struggling. On the US side of the pond, the prize money at most tracks is very positive and betting turnover is up significantly. As a core technology in the wider arsenal of 1/ST and 1/ST Technology, XB Net is part of a broader company wide goal to sustain a successful business model while ensuring all stakeholders who work in the industry are cared for and supported.

That means delivering a fresh and holistic racing experience for the fans which captures the entertainment proclivities of every age group at the racetrack, especially the younger generation that is coming through. We are embracing this challenge and opportunity (sometimes two sides of the same coin!) at every touchpoint we have with our customers.

Just take our recent efforts with Historical Horse Racing (HHR) and how these terminals can provide workarounds for their local racetracks, increasing revenues where slots aren’t legal. As a result, HHR games can bolster revenues at traditional racetracks through direct new gaming revenue for operators who are directly tied to horse racing.

We also pay back a percentage to each host racetrack for every single wager placed, using each respective track’s historical races. This is akin to the simulcast live horse racing host-fee structures, in addition to paying horse racing industry stakeholders for the requisite historical race information data (e.g. Equibase).

At the tracks, our teams are working to modernize the horse racing experience, leveraging technology to bring an on-demand, digital experience to our customers. Ultimately, we’re targeting a growing audience looking for quick-fire action and engaging gameplay experiences driven by end-user thinking and the best interfaces that support that. Providing opportunities for consumers to engage in all aspects of horse racing – from live racetrack visits to simulcast viewing, online wagering and mobile – is the best way to grow our sport in a modern world.

SBC Americas: XB Net holds the international distribution rights for the upcoming Breeders’ Cup. In what ways is this agreement helping to broaden North American racing’s international reach?

SF: Self-evidently, our three-year contract extension with the Breeders’ Cup was a welcome endorsement of our team’s efforts over the past few years. The agreement comprises worldwide broadcast and video-streaming distribution rights from the Breeders’ Cup whose 2021 renewal, consisting of 14 Championship races and over $31 million in prize money and awards, is fast-approaching (5-6 November) at Del Mar racetrack in California next month. Del Mar is one of my favourite venues in all of sport, and its most common epithet of “where the surf meets the turf” tells you what sets it apart.

When the standard-bearer for elite North American racing selects you to further broaden the international reach of its world-class festival, you must be doing something right, and I’m pleased to say that sports fans and bettors around the globe can look forward to even more coverage of the World Championships.

You’re even seeing a suite of domestic host broadcasters (for example Sky Sports Racing and ITV in the UK) broadcasting all 14 races this year, which is ideal for growing the sport. Of course, the increasingly international make-up of these fields, bringing the best horses together from all around the world, only adds to the allure and transcendent appeal of the Breeders’ Cup for global audiences.

SBC Americas: And how will you help optimise and increase the returns to North American racing following what has undoubtedly been a challenging economic period?

SF: For us, it’s all about expanding markets and coverage, coupled with enhancements to our cutting-edge technologies. We’ve already launched in India, while we also have new Tote and fixed-odds roll-outs set for Asia and Africa.

Regarding the race tracks themselves, the more we can add to the service, the better-value our proposition will inherently become through sheer economies of scale. Again, we can return these cost advantages to the tracks. That even applies in Australia, where we’ve recently agreed a deal to add thoroughbred racing from the principal racing state of Victoria to our service which runs off the same infrastructure. We’re thrilled to be able to add more world-class contests for our partners, with the Victorian Spring Racing Carnival already capturing players’ imaginations.

As for what’s under the hood, we’re always refining and fine-tuning, despite having some of the most durable and trusted tech around. For instance, we actually just classified our pari-mutuel totalisator and fixed-odds wagering platform as a “legacy” product.

Instead, we’re replacing it with a next-gen wagering platform that will play a key role as 1/ST Technology continues to deliver on our vision to build upon the strengths of our current gambling platform while also extending its capabilities (e.g. quickly adding new bet types) – increasing speed to market, enhanced support of our customers’ needs, and unlocking the ability to efficiently onboard new consumers via verticals such as sports betting, esports, and other emerging opportunities. In short, it will allow us to react to the market with peerless agility.

Continue Reading


Window on Arts & Entertainment: Oct. 14, 2021 | Diversions



Window on Arts & Entertainment: Oct. 14, 2021 | Diversions

The Majesty of Rock set to perform at First Friday Seminole

SEMINOLE — The Majesty of Rock, one of Florida’s most prestigious bands, will salute the music of Journey and Styx at First Friday Seminole, on Friday, Nov. 5, 6 to 9 p.m., on the main street in front of Studio Movie Grill at Seminole City Center, 11201 Park Blvd. N., Seminole.

Sponsored by Seminole City Center and The Rotary Club of Seminole Lake, this will be the final First Friday Seminole of 2021. The event will feature a variety of Seminole City Center merchants, food, prizes, and games, as well as a special concert by The Majesty of Rock. Attendees are asked to bring their own chairs. Coolers are not allowed. Vendors other than Seminole City Center tenants are not permitted.

The Majesty of Rock features the voice of John D’Agostino, coupled with the exceptional musical talents of four equally sophisticated and experienced musicians. That combination soon propelled the group to become one of the premier Journey reverence bands of our time. The band strives to re-create the exact sounds and nuances of Journey. Their passion for authenticity and attention to detail go a long way toward ensuring that the audience feels like they’re at a real Journey concert.

While the band has enjoyed performing the music of Journey, front man John D’Agostino also loves another American super group: Styx. Turns out the rest of the band are huge Styx fans, too. So, they began adding some of Styx’s best tunes to their already expansive repertoire of Journey material.

CWP to stage ‘Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike’


The cast and crew of the Carrollwood Players Theatre production of “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” include, front row, from left, Kaedin Cammareri, stage manager; Jason Goetluck as Spike; and Pauline Lara as Nina; and, back row, Se’a Ryan as Sonia; Stephanie Russell Krebs as Cassandra; Kenneth Grace as Vanya; Kari Velguth as Masha; and Alicia Spiegel, director.

TAMPA — Carrollwood Players Theatre will present its production of “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” by Christopher Durang, running Oct. 15-30, at the theater, 4333 Gunn Highway, Tampa.

Tickets are $24. Tickets now on sale at Performances will be Fridays and Saturdays, 8 p.m.; and Sundays, 2 p.m. For information, call 813-265-4000 or visit

“Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” won the 2013 Tony Award for Best Play.

Middle-aged siblings Vanya and Sonia share a home, where they bicker and complain about the circumstances of their lives. When Marsha, their movie-star sister, swoops in with her new boy toy, Spike, old resentments flare up, eventually leading to threats and chaos. Contributing to the excitement are a sassy maid who can predict the future, and a lovely young aspiring actress who can’t. Audiences will discover why Durang is lauded as the master of mining the absurdities of human folly.

Presented with the support of the Arts Council of Hillsborough County and the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners, this production will be directed by Alicia Spiegel.

“‘Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike’ is not exactly a well-known show, and the title can be a bit hard to remember … but audiences won’t soon forget the hilarious storyline,” Spiegel said. “I think everyone will relate to the family/relationship dynamics in this modern comedy laced with emotional baggage and heartfelt moments.”

The cast features Kenneth Grace as Vanya, Se’a Ryan as Sonia, Kari Velguth as Marsha, Jason Goetluck as Spike, Pauline Lara as Nina, and Stephanie Russell Krebs as Cassandra.

“Our cast has been perfecting their characters for almost a year a half since we were supposed to put this show on in April 2020 before the world changed,” Spiegel continued. “Luckily, CWP has decided to put it on this season and we are very ready to entertain audiences. They will be treated to sibling rivalry, a sexy young man barely wearing anything, a clairvoyant housekeeper whose predictions can’t be trusted, and a sweet girl next door who doesn’t know what she’s in for.”

“Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” is presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service Inc., New York.

Carrollwood Players offers a limited number of free tickets to every performance for low-income families receiving Florida SNAP benefits. For more information, visit

Syd Entel Galleries to present Borowski glass exhibition

SAFETY HARBOR — An opening reception for a new glass exhibition by the world-famous Glass Studio Borowski will take place Friday, Nov. 12, 4 to 7 p.m.; and Saturday, Nov. 13, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Syd Entel Galleries and Susan Benjamin Glass Etc., 247 Main St., Safety Harbor.

The Borowski’s “Odd Birds Walk of Fame,” a tribute to 20th century celebrities in glass, will run through Nov. 27. The show is open to the public. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For information, call 727-725-1808 or email

Borowski is one of the leading modern glass studios worldwide. Stani Jan Borowski transforms the iconic Fat Gonzo light object into the wildly successful Odd Bird Series. The Odd Bird series has continued to grow into a collection of 22 famous celebrities from the world of art, music, media and science. These hand-blown glass creations are a work of art, unique and distinctive. All are wildly imaginative with recognizable characteristics of the many famous characters, such as Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, Elton John, Micheal Jackson, and Marilyn Monroe.

In addition to the Odd Bird Series, the gallery will have on hand a huge selection of work from the Borowski art objects, studio line and outdoor collection.

Cool Art Shop presents artisan holiday ornament tree

DUNEDIN — The Professional Association of Visual Artists will celebrate the upcoming holiday season with the annual Holiday Ornament Tree featuring handcrafted artisan ornaments, holiday décor, small gift items, and holiday greeting cards by various PAVA fine art and fine craft artists.

The tree is on display at The Cool Art Shop, 1240 County Road 1, Dunedin, in the Independence Plaza Square, through Thursday, Dec. 23. An open house reception will take place Friday, Oct. 15, 6 to 8 p.m., at the shop.

In addition to the Holiday Ornament Tree, The Cool Art Shop also displays and sells PAVA’s artists’ artwork which is comprised of an impressive collection of both visual and functional art for sale in both 2D and 3D mediums including painting, ceramics, photography, mixed media, drawing, pastels, sculpture, and jewelry in all price points. The artwork is rotated on a 6- to 8-week basis to keep the artwork fresh and new. Shop hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

PAVA is a nonprofit organization run by volunteer artists to serve local artisans and support the arts community in the Tampa Bay area. It provides exhibition, education and grant opportunities for its members. Additionally, PAVA supports local art centers, and is a local sponsor of the Pinellas County Regional National Scholastic Art Awards where scholarships are provided to students for art instruction. Visit

Mat Kearney concert canceled

CLEARWATER — The Mat Kearney concert scheduled at the Nancy and David Bilheimer Capitol Theatre on Wednesday, Nov. 3, has been canceled.

Ticket holders will be contacted about refunds. For more information, visit

Creative Clay virtual exhibit opens

ST. PETERSBURG — Creative Clay presents “Celebrating Disability Employment Awareness,” October’s virtual exhibit, featuring artwork by Creative Clay’s member artists who actively create, market and sell their work. The exhitib opened Oct. 9.

This new exhibit coincides with National Disability Employment Awareness Month. According to the United States Department of Labor, the theme this year is “America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion,” which reflects the importance of ensuring that people with disabilities have full access to employment and community involvement during the national recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Creative Clay promotes inclusion by empowering its artists to create art that is exhibited in its Good Folk Gallery, exhibited throughout the community and online, and market themselves as working artists. Many of Creative Clay’s member artists engage in training for potential employment. Creative Clay’s artists receive commission on all works sold.

NDEAM is held each October to commemorate the many and varied contributions of people with disabilities to America’s workplaces and economy. Employers, community organizations, state and local governments, advocacy groups and schools participate in celebrating NDEAM through events and activities centered around the theme of America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion.

Creative Clay’s Virtual Gallery also includes the artwork of many of Creative Clay’s member artists. All artwork is for sale through our online gallery at

St. Pete Arts Alliance awards to help young artists

ST. PETERSBURG — Awards received from the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance’s Funding Futures Program allowed 14 talented Pinellas County students to attend an arts camp this summer.

These students aspire to be musicians, actors, dancers, writers or visual artists. Creative Clay, American Stage, St. Pete MAD and others nominated creative, aspiring at-risk and/or low income students to attend their arts programs for the summer while parents of these students filled out applications showing artistic and financial need.

St. Petersburg Arts Alliance’s Funding Futures programs are dedicated to helping students nurture their creative interests and develop their expressive talent by providing funding to eligible students and connecting them to local after school arts programs or summer arts camps.

“It’s not just about the art for these students,” said Tracy Kennard, associate director of the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance. “It’s about gaining confidence, understanding collaboration and feeling compassionate towards others and how the simple act of learning new artistic traits, can teach skills that are the building blocks of a promising future in any industry.”

The St. Petersburg Arts Alliance’s Funding Futures Student Award program is designed to identify and encourage talented at-risk and/or low income emerging artists, ages 10-17 in Pinellas County seeking St. Petersburg programs in the categories of dance, music, jazz, voice, theater, digital arts, photography, cinematic arts, literary or visual arts. Funding Futures is open to all talented artists regardless of ethnic, social or economic background, or ability/disability.

Major funding sources from Tampa Bay Times Employee Matching Gifts, Suncoast Credit Union Foundation, and the Jacarlene Family Foundation have helped build the Funding Futures Grant Program for the past six years. For information on supporting this program, visit

Livingston Taylor, Tom Chapin concert rescheduled

CLEARWATER — Due to a scheduling conflict, Livingston Taylor and Tom Chapin have rescheduled their concert at the Nancy and David Bilheimer Capitol Theatre.

Tickets purchased for the concert on Friday, April 1, will be honored on the new date, Sunday, April 3, at 8 p.m. Tickets, starting at $29, are on sale now. Visit

Sinbad show postponed

CLEARWATER — The Nancy and David Bilheimer Capitol Theatre recently announced stand-up comedian Sinbad has postponed his upcoming performance scheduled for Saturday, April 16, at 8 p.m.

Tickets will be honored on the new date to be announced soon. For more information, visit

Steep Canyon Rangers reschedule Capitol Theatre show

CLEARWATER — The Nancy and David Bilheimer Capitol Theatre recently announced that the Steep Canyon Rangers concert originally scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 13, at 8 p.m., has been rescheduled.

Tickets will be honored on the new date Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, at 8 p.m. Tickets, starting at $25, are on sale now. Visit

Continue Reading


Window on Arts & Entertainment: Oct. 7, 2021 | Diversions



Window on Arts & Entertainment: Oct. 7, 2021 | Diversions

Dunedin Wines the Blues music lineup set

DUNEDIN — The Downtown Dunedin Merchants Association recently announced the lineup for this year’s Dunedin Wines the Blues event, set for Saturday, Nov. 13, noon to 11 p.m., on Main Street in downtown Dunedin.

The 30th annual Dunedin Wines the Blues will offer attendees an opportunity to walk around the downtown area businesses, shop, eat, and browse a selection of street vendors. This year’s festival will present three stages of nonstop blues, with live music performances beginning at 2 p.m.

VIP tickets are on sale and include unlimited drinks and food as well as access to the VIP lounge area with couches, tables, stage views, big screens and VIP-only desserts and signature drinks. The VIP tent is open from 5 to 11 p.m. VIP tickets cost $125. For tickets, visit

Following is the music lineup for this year’s Dunedin Wines the Blues event:

Main Stage

  • 2 to 3:15 p.m. — Selwyn Birchwood
  • 3:45 to 5 p.m. — Beth Mckee Funky Time Band
  • 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. — Johnny Rawls Band
  • 7:15 to 8:45 p.m. — Damon Fowler
  • 9:15 to 10:45 p.m. — Vanessa Collier

West Stage

  • 2 to 3:15 p.m. — Ellie Lee Band
  • 3:45 to 5 p.m. — Steve Arvey
  • 5:30 to 7 p.m. — Alex Lopez
  • 7:30 to 9 p.m. — Sarasota Slim

East SBS Stage

  • 2 to 3:15 p.m. — Trey Wanvig
  • 3:45 to 5 p.m. — T Bone Hamilton
  • 5:30 to 7 p.m. — Brian Leneschmidt Band
  • 7:30 to 9 p.m. — Dottie Kelly Band

Performers and show times are subject to change without notice. For information, visit

Author releases new book, announces book signings

Reedy Press recently announced the release of “Tampa Bay Scavenger,” by Joshua Ginsberg.

You might think you know Tampa Bay, maybe even the weird, wonderful, and obscure parts of it, but get ready to take your exploring in an innovative and interactive new direction. With “Tampa Bay Scavenger,” you’ll embark on a gamified experience in the Tampa Bay area, complete with over three hundred clues to solve spanning seven counties.

From museums to natural wonders, historical markers, bars and restaurants, sports stadiums, and public artworks, you’re bound to discover something new and unexpected. Be the first one to solve all the riddles, take the whole family out on an adventure, or just find a creative excursion for a few hours as you unlock the hidden face of the Tampa Bay area.

Ginsberg — an author and local explorer — brings years of research and a poet’s sensibility to each of his carefully outlined quests. Follow along with the website and the #TBScavenger Facebook group for a truly interactive experience. It just might be the most elaborate and ambitious scavenger hunt that Tampa Bay has ever seen.

“Tampa Bay Scavenger” is available wherever books are sold.

Ginsberg will host several book signing events in the coming weeks. Book signings are free and open to the public. Copies of the book will be available for purchase. The author will take part in the following book signings:

  • Saturday, Oct. 9, 2 to 5 p.m., at Cueni Brewing Company, 945 Huntley Ave., Dunedin
  • Saturday, Oct. 23, 5 to 8 p.m., at Bastet Brewing, 1951 E. Adamo Drive, Tampa
  • Saturday, Oct. 30, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Clearwater Historical Society, 610 S. Fort Harrison Ave., Clearwater

Studio 1212 to launch new exhibition

DUNEDIN — An opening reception for “What a Relief” will take place Sunday, Oct. 17, noon to 3 p.m., at Studio 1212 Art Gallery, 234 Monroe St., Dunedin.

Participating artists will be on hand. Light refreshments will be served. The exhibit will run through Nov. 28. Studio 1212 is open Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visit the gallery’s online store at

Gulfport venue to present Amazing Acro-cats show

GULFPORT — The Amazing Acro-cats will perform four shows, running Friday through Sunday, Oct. 22-24, at the Catherine A. Hickman Theatre, 5501 27th Ave. S., Gulfport.

Performance times will be Friday, 7 p.m.; Saturday, 3 and 8 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 p.m. Tickets start at $30. Visit or

The Amazing Acro-cats — featuring Tuna and the Rock Cats — are a troupe of rescued house cats. This one-of-a-kind, two-hour long “purrformance” features talented felines roll on balls, ride skateboards, jump through hoops, and more.

The finale is the only all-cat band in the entire world: Tuna and the Rock Cats. The current band lineup features St. Clawed on guitar, Bowie on drums, Nue on keyboard, Ahi on woodblocks, Albacore on cowbell, Roux on trumpet, and Oz on saxophone. There is even a chicken named Cluck Norris rockin’ the tambourine.

Featured on the Netflix docu-series “Cat People,” Tuna and the Rock Cats have also appeared alongside Stephen Colbert on his late night show, as well as PBS and Animal Planet.

Murals coming to two Pinellas Trail tunnels

LARGO — Creative Pinellas and Pinellas County Public Works have partnered to bring four new murals by Pinellas County artists to the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail tunnels at U.S. 19 in Tarpon Springs and Alternate U.S. 19 in Palm Harbor.

The artists’ mural designs for each tunnel face have been inspired by public surveys and meetings that were part of the artist selection process that occurred this summer and revealed a community that enjoys the sunshine and outdoor life, and appreciates the scenic landscape filled with Florida native plants and wildlife. The locations for the murals were selected as part of the Pinellas County Public Works Graffiti Abatement Art Program.

“Creative Pinellas is proud to be part of this multi-mural project on the Pinellas Trail,” said Barbara St. Clair, CEO of Creative Pinellas. “It is an opportunity to not only assist in Pinellas County’s effort to combat graffiti, it also brings talented Pinellas County artists in to create pieces that will engage the trail users in a new way. The new murals will add to the identity of the Pinellas Trail as a destination location in Pinellas County.”

The Palm Harbor location, just north of Wall Springs Park, will feature Taylor Smith’s design “Wetland Herons” that includes two great blue herons with an organic color scheme meant to highlight the beauty of Florida’s coastal wetlands on the south tunnel face, while the north tunnel face design by Yhali Ilan, “Island People,” celebrates the coastal lifestyle in North Pinellas through the use of vibrant plant life, people enjoying the beaches, and water related activities.

The Tarpon Springs location, just north of Live Oak Street, will include the design “Sun Tribute” created by Daniel Barojas (a.k.a. R5, Rope5) on the west tunnel face. The design is a stylized representation of the sun, an essential part of Florida lifestyle. Ricardo Delgado’s (Reda3sb) design “Birds and Flowers” also incorporates the sun, setting into the sea, vibrant flowers and tropical birds, to celebrate nature and Florida life on the east tunnel face.

The Pinellas Trail Mural program is a partnership between Creative Pinellas and the County with goals of defeating graffiti, building excitement and interest, and fostering community beautification projects. Since the beginning of the program, local artists have completed two murals in Palm Harbor and one along the Pinellas Trail overpass in Largo.

“Extending the graffiti abatement program to the Pinellas Trail exemplifies the County’s strategic plan goals to invest in our transportation infrastructure, maximize partner relationships and support a vibrant community,” said Tom Washburn, Pinellas County Public Works Transportation Division Director. “We are pleased to partner with Creative Pinellas and the Florida Department of Transportation in this effort to improve the quality of life for our residents and visitors.”

Artists will be working over the coming weeks and through mid-October. Both locations will remain accessible for trail users while the artists work.

For information about the project, visit

Cracker Country to presents annual Tall Tales of Old Florida

TAMPA — Tall Tales of Old Florida will be presented Saturday, Oct. 23, beginning at 6:45 p.m., at Cracker Country, a living history museum found at the Florida State Fairgrounds, 4800 U.S. Hwy. 301 N., Tampa.

Each walking tour will last 60 minutes. This event is recommended for ages 6 and older. Admission is $14 per person and includes a snack. An advance purchase price of $12 per person is available through Oct. 17. Tickets are sold in time blocks. Tickets and more information available at

Attendees will explore Tampa’s 19th century living history museum by night. Along the way, they will meet storytellers who will spin wild yarns about a few of Florida’s unexplained oddities. A little scary, a little funny and always family friendly, the Tall Tales tour is a Florida history adventure by lantern light.

Cracker Country is a living history museum that represents aspects of home life, commerce and transportation as it was in many rural Florida communities at the end of the 19th century. During the Tall Tales of Old Florida tour, “tellers” will share uniquely Florida stories about skunk apes, misbehaving trains, cow hunting giants and other legendary creatures. Guests will also enjoy a magic lantern show, featuring a turn-of-the-20th-century projection technology that led to the birth of the film industry.

Guests are invited to come early and enjoy Victorian games and activities before their tour begins. Afterward, have a complimentary snack and do some holiday shopping in the General Store.

Chic Décor & Artisan Market set

SAFETY HARBOR — The Fall Chic Décor & Artisan Market will take place Sunday, Oct. 10, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at 411 Main Street, Safety Harbor.

The Chic Décor & Artisan Market is returning to its home location in Safety Harbor.

This unique hybrid market highlights some of the best home décor artists, vintage pickers, and indie artisans in the Tampa Bay area. The Fall Chic Décor & Artisan Market will feature over 120 local décor artisans, vintage treasures, and furniture featuring assorted styles like coastal chic, farmhouse, shabby chic, cottage glam, and industrial. There also will be food vendors and live entertainment.

Parking and admission are free.

L.O.L. Surprise! Live show rescheduled

CLEARWATER — L.O.L. Surprise! Live scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 20, at Ruth Eckerd Hall, has been rescheduled.

L.O.L. Surprise! fans in Clearwater will be able to rock out in real life when the all-new hologram concert tour crisscrosses the United States and makes a stop at Ruth Eckerd Hall on Thursday, May 5, at 6 p.m. Tickets purchased for the Oct. 20 performance will be honored on the new date. Tickets, starting at $28.75, are on sale now. Visit

St. Pete Arts Alliance to present Second Saturday ArtWalk

ST. PETERSBURG — The Central Arts District, EDGE District, Grand Central District, Warehouse Arts District, Uptown Arts District and downtown Waterfront District will united to celebrate “ARTober” for the St. Petersburg Second Saturday ArtWalk, set for Saturday, Oct. 9, 5 to 9 p.m.

ArtWalk is opening night as some 40 galleries and studios premiere new works, with artists and demos on-site. It’s impossible to take in the entire ArtWalk in one night. Attendees should plan to drive, walk, or take the trolleys to visit the districts of their choice — or utilize the free Downtown Looper, which will run every 15 minutes.

To download the map and list of participants, visit

‘Legendz of the Streetz’ show rescheduled

TAMPA — Amalie Arena recently announced that the “Legendz of the Streetz” Tour has been rescheduled.

Originally set for Sunday, Oct. 17, the show will now be presented Friday, Nov. 12, at 7 p.m. All tickets bought will be honored for the rescheduled date. The tour will feature hip-hop heavyweights Rick Ross, Jeezy, Gucci Mane and 2 Chainz. Tickets, starting at $50, are on sale now. Visit

Continue Reading