Lionsgate acquires cable network

International producer and distributor Lionsgate has acquired US cable network TV Guide for US$255 million, moving into the channels business for the first time.

The company, which produces shows including Mad Men and Weeds, acquired the channel, which reaches 83 million US homes, from technology company Macrovision.

It will expand the network’s slate of original programming and use it as a home for its large catalogue of movies. The channel currently skews towards 40+ females, which offers Lionsgate entry into a new market following the launch of its male-skewing video-on-demand platform FEARnet and website Lionsgate is also involved in the joint venture premium movie channel Epix with MGM and Viacom, which is slated to launch later this year.

Existing license agreements and rights issues mean that international launches of either channel are unlikely.