The Lionsgate CEO gently touched some cable industry hot buttons in a speech today to marketing execs. He said that cable could be left behind as viewers increasingly turn to mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets for entertainment unless operators improve user interfaces, offer dynamic ad insertion for on-demand shows, and begin to sell movies and programs directly to consumers. “These days, an educated consumer may not be our best friend because an educated consumer knows that if you and I don’t give him what he wants, there are a million other places he can get it,” Jon Feltheimer told the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing. “And nobody has to tell you that once a consumer has left your ecosystem, it’s very hard to get him back.” Feltheimer said he learned how obsolete cable’s VOD user interfaces are when Lionsgate was disappointed by the audience for its film What To Expect When You’re Expecting. “I realized that the film underperformed on VOD simply because online consumers don’t bother to scroll all the way down to the W’s,” he said. The interface also is important if cable companies want to sell movies instead of just rent them — a shift that Feltheimer supports. That would give the studios’ electronic sell-through efforts “a real shot in the arm,” he says. He acknowledged that producers and distributors often have conflicting agendas. But he added that “what we need to do is look for ways to work together to make our jobs easier…not compete in ways that make them even harder.”

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