Cinedigm Rebrands As Cineverse To Reflect Streaming Focus; CEO Chris McGurk And Chief Strategy Officer Erick Opeka Offer Update On Turnaround Progress
EXCLUSIVE: As its stock price continues to languish, Cinedigm is following through on its stated plan to rebrand the company, emerging with the new name Cineverse in a bid to convey a long-under-way pivot to streaming.
A decade ago, Cineverse was primarily known as a purveyor of cinema equipment and technology. Under CEO Chris McGurk, the former MGM, Universal and Disney exec who took the helm in 2011, the company has steadily moved toward streaming. Today, it has a library of more than 60,000 film and TV titles and operates subscription and ad-supported services like flagship Cineverse as well as Fandor, the Dove Channel and CONtv.
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“Today we officially turn the page to become Cineverse, a pure-play business in the exciting and dynamic streaming content and technology space,” McGurk said in the official announcement. Chief Strategy Officer and President Erick Opeka said it “made sense to consolidate our overall corporate identity under one brand.”
In an interview with Deadline, the execs conceded that their embrace of streaming comes as Wall Street has punished many streaming entities and media companies trying to build a bigger digital presence. Citing recent cutbacks by Disney, Warner Bros Discovery and other companies, who have removed dozens of film and TV titles from their platforms, Opeka said Cineverse aims to deliver to consumers “content that they often cannot find elsewhere as other major streaming services cut back.”
Cineverse, the namesake streaming outlet launched last fall, ranks as the sixth-largest streaming service in the world, with its 22,000 titles exceeding the libraries of Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max and Paramount+, according to the company. Opecka added that the mission of the company, which he described as “preserving film culture and making movies and shows widely accessible,” has taken on new urgency at a time when work is seeming to be more ephemeral than ever.
As the name changes, so also will its ticker symbol, with the stock trading under the ticker CNVS as of Tuesday’s market opening. Cinedigm shares closed last Friday near an all-time low of about 29 cents. The company has been working to boost its shares over the $1 mark to avoid a potential delisting from the Nasdaq. McGurk disclosed the “cure period” established with market officials and regulators in a letter to shareholders in March. He told Deadline the company subsequently “bought a little more time” and did not rule out a reverse stock split, a maneuver which creates fewer shares but at a higher price, though the move is often interpreted as a distress signal.
“Our attitude is, we’re not going to look at the stock price,” McGurk said. “We’re going to figure out what we have to do in terms of Nasdaq and everything, and we’re going to focus on the operation and rolling out Cineverse.” Given the new scrutiny by Wall Street of the financials of streaming entities, not just their ability to attain subscribers, McGurk said Cineverse plans to continue to focus on remaining profitable as it digests the eight acquisitions it has completed over the past two years. Despite that M&A spree, McGurk said, the company differs from most streaming peers in that it has no debt.
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