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Amazon Prime U.K. Licenses Starz Original Pirate Series 'Black Sails'

31 Mar, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Starz maintains SVOD rights to show in the U.S.

Amazon Prime Instant Video, beginning April 4 in the United Kingdom, will stream all eight episodes to the first season of Starz Originals pirate series “Black Sails.”

The subscription streaming license deal does not apply to the United States, where Starz holds distribution rights to all media formats. The pay-TV distributor as a rule does not license content to SVOD services still in broadcast or syndication cycles.

“Sails” is available on Amazon Instant Video, with transactional VOD episodes streaming from $1.99 in standard-definition. Street date for the $59.99 Blu-ray Disc and $49.98 DVD boxed sets has not been disclosed.

“Sails” centers on the tales of Captain Flint (Toby Stephens) and his men, and takes place 20 years before Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. “Black Sails” is filmed in South Africa and executive produced by Michael Bay (Transformers). Production began on the 10-episode second season in Cape Town last November.

“Sails,” which concluded its first-season run in the U.S. March 15, was a hit for Starz with 2.6 million viewers watching the first episode during its Jan. 26 premiere weekend.

The tally, which bested the premiere of Starz original series “The White Queen,” added an additional 900,000 viewers when factoring in video-on-demand, online and linear affiliates.

“‘Black Sails’ is the kind of show with enough twists and turns to make viewers want to consume the whole adventure in one go,” Tim Leslie, VP of Amazon Prime Instant Video UK, said in a statement.

Indeed, Amazon continues to up content spending on exclusive rights in an effort to compete with Netflix, which continues to expand operations internationally. Recent streaming launches include The History Channel’s “Vikings,” NBC’s “Crossing Lines,” and original series “Betas” and “Alpha House.”

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