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Amazon Gets 'White Queen' From Starz

28 Jan, 2015 By: Erik Gruenwedel

"The White Queen"

Amazon Jan. 28 announced it has secured exclusive online rights to period drama “The White Queen” from Starz Digital Media.

Amazon Prime Instant Video will be the only online distribution channel for the 10-episode first season (2013) of the Golden Globe and Emmy-nominated “White Queen,” which was a co-production between Starz and the BBC.

The series was released Feb. 4, 2014, on packaged media by Starz subsidiary Anchor Bay Home Entertainment.

The show is based on the historical novels from Philippa Gregory's New York Times best-selling series "The Cousins War," and is set during England’s War of the Roses and tells the story of three women vying for England’s throne during one of the most tumultuous times in the country’s history. Rebecca Ferguson and Janet McTeer co-star, among others.

“Starz has an outstanding collection of programming, and we’re thrilled that one of their award-nominated miniseries will be added to the great selection of exclusive movies and TV shows that are included as part of Amazon Prime,” Brad Beale, VP of digital video content acquisition, said in a statement.

While “White Queen” scored well with Starz subscribers, the BBC chose not to continue production of a second season — a situation Starz CEO Chris Albrecht a year ago expressed hope could be resolved.

“We are interested, if the stars align, in a sequel to ‘The White Queen’,” Albrecht said at the 2014 Television Critics Association's winter press tour.

The licensing of Starz content to Amazon Prime Instant Video is noteworthy considering Albrecht’s recent questioning of media companies’ crush to grab incremental revenue from a distribution channel (SVOD) he believes threatens the pay-TV ecosystem.

Speaking Dec. 9 at the UBS 42nd Annual Global Media and Communications confab in New York, Albrecht characterized Starz’s former license deal with Netflix as “terrible,” and chastised media companies in search of the quick SVOD dollar.

“Look, Starz made a terrible deal with Netflix. You could argue Netflix built a lot of its business on the back of Starz programing,” Albrecht said.

The CEO said it remains “really shortsighted” for networks to be selling their TV shows to Netflix.

“If they didn’t [sell], what would be on Netflix? A lot of old movies, some Disney movies in a couple of years and a few shows they make. [But] it’s hard to turn down the [money] they’re paying,” Albrecht said.

Indeed, Amazon Prime apparently is a “prime” channel for “White Queen” (despite an unknown future), according to Mara Winokur, SVP of digital at Starz.

“We’re excited that this new agreement allows us to continue to grow our relationship with Amazon, while expanding exposure to one of our miniseries from the growing library of programming found on the Starz channels and services,” Winokur said in a statement.

“The White Queen” will remain available on Starz’ pay-TV platforms.

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