On Monday, Lions Gate Entertainment (LGF) announced a partnership with Internet Explorer, the browser from Microsoft (MSFT). The partnership is being done by Microsoft to help Internet Explorer 10 gain market share. For Lions Gate, the move could have a much bigger impact on its "Hunger Game" franchise and potential box office revenue.
The partnership created the new browser website. The site will provide fans with content, news, movie trailers, interactive content, fan blogs, talent tweets, and videos. Microsoft has also included its multi-touch technology and will hope to show off this unique feature of Internet Explorer 10.
Lions Gate senior vice president Danielle De Palma had this to say of the new partnership, "We have the best fans in the world, and starting tonight they have a home on the web where they can be part of The Hunger Games experience and contribute to the excitement for 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.'"
The buzz on "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" will continue to grow as the premiere date of November 22nd gets closer. The official teaser trailer premiered recently during the "MTV Movie Awards." The show saw huge viewership numbers of 3.8 million people. The YouTube video for the trailer also has over 2.6 million views as of Monday night.
The first "Hunger Games" movie had huge numbers for a first part in a book trilogy. In the United States, the film grossed $408.0 million. In foreign markets, the movie grossed an additional $283.2 million for a grand total of $691.2 million. I pointed out in a recent article how the company will see additional international revenue as the series goes on. The creation of the new browser site might go far into getting a greater international audience.
Internet Explorer has struggled with keeping its market share. With a peak of 95%, the browser from Microsoft was once the dominant player before competitors came along. Launched in 1995, Internet Explorer has seen Safari (2003), Firefox (2004), and Google (GOOG) Chrome (2008) enter its territory.
The Next Web reports that Internet Explorer had a market share of 55.8% for the month of February. Only 1.6% were utilizing Internet Explorer 10, which is less than six months old. Firefox made up 20.1% of usage, Google Chrome accounted for 16.3% and Safari 5.4%.
For Microsoft, this isn't a move that will move the needle. The move is a smart one as it will get more people using its search bar at the top of the "Hunger Games" explorer. Microsoft also locks up a partnership with one of the hottest book and movie franchises. With three more movies set to be released for Lions Gate's blockbuster franchise, Microsoft signed a winner.
Roger Capriotti, director for Internet Explorer marketing, had this to say of the deal, "The Hunger Games Explorer continues IE's work to bring innovative experiences to the web, showcasing what's possible with amazing content and a modern browser like IE that is fast, fluid and perfect for touch."
I have been long Lions Gate shares for over a year. Back in August of 2011, I recommended buying shares before "The Hunger Games" franchise began. Shares are now up 216% since that first recommendation. If you follow me on Seeking Alpha, you will have seen more bullish pieces including my recent article on why it is not too late to get in on this four part blockbuster series and the great company behind it.
Back in 2011, I said, "shares of Lions Gate under $8 are a gift." If you didn't have a chance to get in on that recommendation, it's not too late. Shares were actually down 4.2% as the overall market fell Monday. With shares at $22.28, they are not far off of an all time high ($24.15). However, with three movies in this blockbuster franchise set to come, and a new browser to keep fans involved, shares will set several new all time highs along the way.