Starz's Albrecht: premium cable has 'much better product than Netflix'

Speaking just two days after Netflix's (NASDAQ: NFLX) much-buzzed-about season-two premiere of Orange Is the New Black, Starz CEO Chris Albrecht declared that the premium cable realm remains unchallenged in terms of producing quality original programming.

"If you took the premium channels, we have much better product than Netflix and we have more movies and earlier windows," Albrecht said on a Sunday afternoon panel at the Produced By conference in Los Angeles. Deadline Hollywood and the Los Angeles Times were among the media outlets covering the Producers Guild of America-sponsored event, "Take It From the Top: 10 Questions for the Cable Bosses" which also featured FX Network CEO John Landgraf and Showtime entertainment president David Nevins.

Asked by a Deadline reporter after the event whether the Netflix VOD smorgasbord model will soon overtake the business of distributing television, Albrecht remarked, "We live in a world of infinite choices … You still need curators, whether you label them channels, networks or brands.

"Right now Netflix is curating the content they license. HBO, FX--we're all doing that," the former HBO chief added. "How many curators will there be at the end of the day? I don't know, but there will be curators whether it's delivered linearly or through an authenticated app. The curation is the important way in which people will navigate their way through infinite choices."

Meanwhile, commenting on several major pay-TV mergers that are in progress, Landgraf noted, "You look at these mergers in cable, it's not only motivated to keep programming costs down, but they're also looking to build technologies at scale. We're beholden to their technological platforms."

For more:
- read this Los Angeles Times story (tiered subscription)
- read this Deadline story

Related links:
Street pounds Netflix for losing Starz movies
Netflix investors look to strip Hastings of chairmanship

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