Lionsgate premium network Starz is heading north to Canada thanks to a new long-term deal with Bell Media.
Bell will offer Starz content on The Movie Network Encore (which it plans to rebrand next year) to its pay TV customers, as well as through its streaming service CraveTV. The deal includes first pay window for Lionsgate's future theatrical releases in the territory.
After TMN Encore is rebranded in early 2019 and stocked with Starz programming and Lionsgate films and television series, the channel will also be made available on a direct-to-consumer basis. All Lionsgate films will also be available to subscribers of Bell Media's French-language Pay TV service, Super Écran.
"We're delighted to bring Starz to Canada as part of our international channel rollout," said Starz President and CEO Chris Albrecht in a statement. "Bell Media is one of North America's elite content companies, and they bring great brand recognition, a massive consumer base, and unparalleled distribution skills to our alliance. This agreement creates the perfect foundation for the growth of Starz in the territory."
"Bell Media is thrilled to be on board as Starz's first international partner," said Randy Lennox, president of Bell Media, in the statement. "Starz is making waves with bold, fresh content that's resonating with audiences around the world. We're delighted to introduce this premium brand to Canadians as well as partner with Lionsgate on the distribution of their film properties going forward."
"Bell Media is the ideal partner to introduce Starz to Canadian audiences," said Lionsgate President of Worldwide Television & Digital Distribution Jim Packer in the statement. "The Canadian marketplace offers tremendous opportunities for growth, and this multifaceted agreement enables us to deliver the robust slate of Starz premium programming as well as the future first pay television window for Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment films to Bell Media platforms."