Starz takes streaming-TV app overseas

STARZPLAY
Starz now counts 5.6 million subscribers for its OTT service. (Starz)

Starz is sending its streaming app on a world tour. The premium TV provider announced Monday that its Starzplay app had rolled out in Brazil, France, Germany, Mexico and the United Kingdom and would come to 20 more countries in 2020.

The company noted that this would give the Lionsgate subsidiary not just more customers but more data.

“Expanding our direct-to-consumer product into the global arena with the launch of the STARZPLAY app gives subscribers seamless entry to our platform and premium content on their device of choice, while also providing us with access to key consumer data insights as we continue to position ourselves for success in the evolving content ecosystem,” said CEO Jeffrey Hirsch in a prepared statement.

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Starz now counts 5.6 million subscribers for its OTT service, which runs $8.99 a month in the U.S. but costs about $5 a month in these new markets. It’s experimented with discounts such as the $16.99 deal Roku just began offering for a bundle of Showtime and Starz.

Starz’s latest subscriber total represents a big increase from the 1 million-plus it claimed as of July 2017, only months after it brought its app to Amazon’s Fire TV platform and Samsung’s connected TVs. It’s also available on Apple TV and Roku media players, Xbox game consoles, iOS and Android, Sony and LG connected TVs, and desktop web browsers.

To augment its lineup of movies and TV series, the Santa Monica, Calif.-based firm has begun investing in original content from such boldface names as Geena Davis and Idris Elba.

But Starz also faces headwinds in its traditional distribution channels: In October, Comcast said that it would drop Starz from its lineup in favor of MGM’s Epix network, effective Dec. 10. And in August, AT&T signed a new distribution deal that retains Starz on the telco’s video services but will pay Lionsgate less.

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