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Starz Bows TV Everywhere Platforms

8 Oct, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Content aggregator inks separate pay-TV and SVOD rights deal with HBO Nordic

Starz Entertainment LLC Oct. 8 launched its first TV Everywhere platforms enabling authenticated viewers access to original new-release and catalog content online and select smartphones, tablets and media devices.

Englewood, Colo.-based Starz said Cox Communications is the first cable operator to roll out its new Starz Play and Encore Play online services, in addition to Movieplex and Movieplex Play platforms. The new Play platforms are available free to nearly 55 million combined subscribers of Starz, Encore and Movieplex. Each platform offers subs unlimited streaming access to movies and original programming.

Starz Entertainment, which is owned by Liberty Media Corp., is a premium TV aggregator offering original and third party movies and episodic series to subscribers through its Starz and Encore branded channels. Original series include the “Spartacus” franchise, “Magic City” and “Boss,” upcoming original series including “Da Vinci’s Demons,” “The White Queen,” and “Black Sails,” among others. Movies include exclusive first-run agreements with Walt Disney Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Touchstone Pictures, Hollywood Pictures, Disney-Pixar, Marvel Entertainment, TriStar, Screen Gems, Sony Classics, Anchor Bay Films and Warren Miller Films. It also distributes select catalog titles from Warner Bros. and Lionsgate.

Starz said the Play platforms can also be accessed by authenticated subs via apps for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Interfaces for Macs and PCs are available at www.starzplay.com and www.encoreplay.com. Access via Android-based phones, tablets and connected video game platforms is pending.

Users can start, pause and resume playback on any content, while parental controls enable families to limit access to inappropriate content.

Separately, Starz announced at MIPCOM in Cannes, France, that it signed a license deal with HBO Nordic enabling subscribers of the Time Warner-owned Scandinavia-based pay-TV and subscription video-on-demand service to watch original and third-party content on demand.

Starz in February ended its controversial four-year license agreement with Netflix that had enabled the latter’s SVOD users unlimited access to stream its content. That $30 million-a-year agreement has been credited with helping launch Netflix’s trailblazing SVOD service. Renewal of the deal had been expected to fetch Starz as much as $300 million annually.

“Starz and Encore have long been pioneers in the deployment of advanced services, being the first premium networks to offer authenticated access to our programming through distributors’ online platforms,” Chris Albrecht, CEO of Starz LLC, said 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.”

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