Starz Eyeing International Streaming Service14 Oct, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Starz LLC is exploring options abroad to rollout a Web-based streaming service featuring its original programing and third-party movies, according to a source familiar with the situation.
Starz is evaluating emerging markets in Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and Africa for the over-the-top video service with no definitive regions or launch dates set.
The pay-TV content aggregator is working with Swedish-based Parsifal Entertainment in the rollout. Parsifal helped HBO launch OTT video-based HBO Nordics in Scandinavia — a venture Starz licensed content to in 2012.
"The amount of money and capital investment needed to build these new platforms is a fraction of what it is to build a linear [television] channel,” Starz CEO Chris Albrecht told the Financial Times, which first reported the development.
Albrecht has advocated allocation of resources toward original programing instead of third-party movies. Albrecht said original content helps Starz differentiate itself in an increasingly fragmented world of TV programming.
At an investor event in January, Albrecht said third-party movies rebroadcast via Starz’s 17 premium content channels have largely become time fillers around original programming.
“Movies are more and more becoming a commodity, even first-run theatricals in the premium space,” Albrecht told attendees at the Citi Internet, Media & Telecommunications confab in Las Vegas. “They provide great bulk. They provide a lot choice for the viewers. What they don’t provide is great marketing opportunities. And that’s what originals do.”
Starz original programing includes “Da Vinci's Demons,” which concluded its second season and has been renewed for a third, while “Power” was renewed for a second season. Starz released original series “Outlander” Aug. 9.
Starz also distributes proprietary and third-party titles on packaged media and electronically through its Anchor Bay Home Entertainment subsidiary.