January 23, 2018
Starz, the premium pay-TV platform owned by Lionsgate, is launching its streaming app in Canada through Bell Media.
It marks the first expansion for Starz within Canada following Lionsgate’s $4.4 billion acquisition in 2016.
Bell will also distribute the first pay window of Lionsgate’s future theatrical releases in Canada.
The multifaceted agreement is aimed at competing against Netflix and other SVOD services challenges Canada’s pay-TV ecosystem. Bell and Starz will also rebrand the former’s pay television network The Movie Network Encore and streaming service CraveTV next year.
TMN Encore will be rebranded in early 2019, with a slate of Starz programming and a broad selection of Lionsgate movies and television shows. The newly branded service will also be available on a direct-to-consumer basis.
“This agreement creates the perfect foundation for the growth of Starz in the territory,” CEO Chris Albrecht said in a statement.
Starz features over 7,000 feature film and television titles, including “Power,” “Girlfriend Experience,” “Vida,” and “Sweetbitter.”
“Starz is making waves with fresh content that’s resonating with audiences around the world. We’re delighted … as well as to partner with Lionsgate on the distribution of their film properties going forward,” said Randy Lennox, president, Bell Media.
Bell Media’s collaboration with Lionsgate also encompasses future exclusive first-window access to the studio’s slate of hit Hollywood movies. All Lionsgate films will also be available to subscribers of Bell Media’s French-language Pay TV service, Super Écran.
“Bell Media is the ideal partner to introduce Starz to Canadian audiences,” said Lionsgate President of Worldwide Television & Digital Distribution Jim Packer. “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.”
“Starz series and Lionsgate films add hundreds of hours of premium content every year to our already-rich offering,” said Tracey Pearce, President, Distribution and Pay, Bell Media. “We can’t wait to introduce the evolution of TMN Encore as it transforms into a newly-rebranded premier pay TV platform.”