Starz launches TV Everywhere service

Michelle Clancy | 09-10-2012

Starz Entertainment is getting on board the TV Everywhere bus, taking a cue from HBO GO and allowing authenticated pay-TV subscribers to access its content via dedicated, native apps for a range of connected devices. Its first deal with cable operator Cox Communications.

At the beginning of the year, Starz opted not to renew a content licencing deal with Netflix, opening the door for digital distribution arrangements with cable, satellite and IPTV operators. The company said it expects other deals to follow the Cox agreement, the terms of which were not revealed. The premium cable net's asking price for a renewal deal with Netflix was rumoured to have topped $300 million per year—up from the $30 million that Netflix had originally contracted for.

The two initial online and mobile services will be dubbed Starz Play and Encore Play, and will be followed by Movieplex Play eventually, the company said. Together, the three services offer around 1,500 movies, originals and other TV content every month: Starz Play offers approximately 400, Encore Play about 900, and Movieplex Play about 200 pieces of content every month. Starz Play for instance will launch with complete seasons of Starz original series Spartacus, Magic City and Boss, first-run movies from Disney and Sony, as well as library films from various studios.

The services are available for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, with Android and gaming console apps coming soon.

The strategy complements Starz' integrated access deals to be present in pay-TV partners' video on demand (VOD) and online stables, such as Comcast Xfinity. "Starz and Encore have long been pioneers in the deployment of advanced services, being the first premium networks to offer authenticated access to our programing through distributors' online platforms," said CEO Chris Albrecht, in a statement. "Now, from big screens to mobile devices, a deep collection of movies and original programming from Starz and Encore provides a winning combination for both our distributors and customers."