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Starz, Anchor Bay Hit Seas Early With 'Black Sails'

15 Jan, 2014 By: Chris Tribbey

"Black Sails"

A week before Michael Bay’s pirate-themed series “Black Sails” debuts on Starz Jan. 25, the first episode of the series will be available for free across numerous digital outlets, including YouTube, Xbox Video, Amazon, iTunes podcast and Machinima.

It’s part of a larger play for early sales of the series, according to David Katz, VP of digital media for Starz, with more than one outlet offering exclusive bonuses and early digital access to the show via preorders after the Starz channel debut.

“We see this as a movement the industry is taking,” Katz said. “There’s a premium on ownership now, and we want to take advantage of the movement.”

Best Buy, Amazon and f.y.e. (For Your Entertainment) are promoting the series already. And those who preorder the first season on disc via Walmart will have access to the first episode via Walmart’s Vudu VOD service, along with exclusive bonuses and access to other first episodes of Starz original series, including “Da Vinci’s Demons,” “The White Queen,” “Magic City,” “Camelot” and “Spartacus.”

Kevin Carney, executive director of marketing for Anchor Bay Entertainment — Starz LLC’s home entertainment arm — said the companies are “really using the retailers” to push early sales of “Black Sails,” sharing that it’s a series “the whole company is behind.”

Xbox Video will offer early electronic sellthrough of the first episode of “Black Sails” beginning Jan. 28, offering bonuses including an extended trailer and a featurette.

“Xbox was a great partner for us with ‘Spartacus,’ and they’re making a huge push into the entertainment space,” Katz said.

Pay TV operators — including Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Dish — will also offer the first episode of “Black Sails” a week before its linear Starz debut, via their digital outlets.

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