SILVER SPRING, MD — RLJ Entertainment, a Maryland-based entertainment company that owns streaming services for African-Americans and fans of British programming, reported a fourth-quarter loss that was less than the quarterly loss in 2015, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday.
The company reported a net loss of $4.8 million, or 90 cents per share, in the fourth quarter, compared to a net loss of $37.7 million, or $8.87 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2015. In the fourth quarter of 2015, the company took a $30.3 million goodwill impairment charge.
Revenue for the quarter fell 12.8 percent to $28.4 million from $32.5 million in the same quarter of 2015.
In 2016, revenue for the company’s digital channel business increased 115.6 percent to $16.3 million. The services, Acorn TV and Urban Movie Channel, contributed $6.3 million of income from continuing operations for 2016 compared to a loss of $1.5 million in 2015.
Acorn TV launched in 2011 and has more than 370,000 subscribers. RLJ’s paying subscriber base increased by 125 percent from 203,000 to 457,000 in 2016. The company crossed half a million subscribers in February 2017.
“We see the one million subscriber target to be achievable in the next 24 months,” said Miguel Penella, chief executive officer.
The company’s chairman is Robert Johnson, the U.S.’s first black billionaire and the founder of Black Entertainment Television.
In other news, RLJ refinanced its debt in October 2016 and January 2017 and received net proceeds of $7.4 million. The company said it will expand one of its loans from $5 million to $13 million and extend the maturity date of the loan to June 30, 2019.
Part of the debt was issued with AMC Networks in 2012. AMC invested $65 million in RLJ last year in order to create a partnership aimed at reaching two niche audiences — African-American viewers and fans of British programming — with online video services.
AMC, best known for the U.S. cable channel that airs “The Walking Dead,” also operates BBC America through a joint venture with BBC Worldwide, and owns WE tv, a network popular with black viewers.
RLJ also cited increased earnings from its affiliate Agatha Christie Ltd. ACL manages the media and literary rights to British crime author Christie’s works. RLJ owns 64 percent of the company.
The Guardian valued ACL at $125 million in 2010. The bestselling author of all time, according to Guinness World Records, Christie’s work has produced a huge fortune since her death in 1976, and her books continue to fill shelves around the world, particularly those featuring detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. Christie’s “The Mousetrap” is the longest-running stage play in the world and a fixture in London’s West End since 1952.
Christie’s family owns the other 36 percent of ACL.
Shares of RLJ were trading at $2.44, up 1 cent, in midday trading on Thursday.
This story is from the Maryland Business News Wire, a service of UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Media and Journalism