Starz slams reports of decline

Editor | 23-01-2014

Leading US content network Starz has hit back at a study from the NPD Group that suggested an overall decline in US households subscribing to premium TV channels over the past two years.

In particular, the report stated that premium cable networks, a segment that includes HBO and Starz, were losing ground in the TV subscriber game, even as over-the-top (OTT) streaming services like Netflix continue to grow.

"As SVOD services have gained momentum, it's clear that some consumers are trimming their premium-TV subscriptions," said Russ Crupnick, senior vice president of industry analysis for The NPD Group. "As SVOD increasingly strives to become a channel itself, viewers might consider it to be an adequate substitution for other premium channels, or perhaps they are switching to economise on their time and money spent."

Yet in the wake of publication, Starz has hit back rebutting any suggestion that its subs had dipped. It noted that it was in middle of a streak of eight consecutive periods of subscriber growth and that between Q2 2012 and Q2 2013 it had added 1.2 million subscribers, an increase 5.5% to total 22 million. In addition, Starz said that using an18-month comparison, which NPD also referenced, the company had actually held up with an increase of 1.9 million subscribers.

A Starz spokesperson commented: "Both Starz and Encore have enjoyed very strong subscriber grown over the past 12 months, hitting historic highs. Starz now has 22 million subscribers, and Encore stands as the largest premium network at 35 million subscribers."