HBO-less YouTube TV signs on to carry Starz

Starz Power
Starz original series, including the gangster-themed drama "Power," are coming to YouTube TV. (Starz)

Google’s year-old virtual pay TV service has signed a carriage agreement with Starz, welcoming 14 of the premium network’s channels to its service. 

Starz will be offered to YouTube TV subscribers as a $9-a-month add-on. Subscribers will receive access to Starz, Starz Encore and Starz Encore Westerns, among 11 other branded offerings. Like all subscription networks, Starz is investing in the original series game. Its wares include the gangster-themed drama “Power,” the Latino-themed young-adult drama “Vida” and the sci-fi period drama “Outlander,” just to name a few. 

All 14 Starz networks are available now on YouTube TV.

According to UBS analyst Jon Hokulik, YouTube TV has engaged around 750,000 subscribers so far, ranking it fourth among virtual MVPDs behind Sling TV, DirecTV Now and Hulu with Live TV. 

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Like most virtual operators trying to keep their price points competitive—that is, at around $40 a month—YouTube TV lacks deals with at least one major programmer. And in this case, that network group is the just-bought-and-rebranded Time Warner Inc., home of Turner Networks and HBO. YouTube TV, which also lacks access to Epix, does offer CBS Corp.’s Showtime for $11 a month. 

“We are excited to expand the YouTube TV offering with Starz just in time for the premiere of Season 5 of ‘Power,’” said Heather Moosnick, director of content partnerships for YouTube TV, in a statement. “We know YouTube TV users will love exploring Starz’s incredible originals, movies and rich library in addition to our current ‘Best of TV’ base package, all in one seamless experience.”