Lionsgate Middle East Subsidiary Starzplay Arabia Launches TVOD Platform

Lionsgate-owned Starzplay Arabia has launched a digital retail movie platform dubbed the Starzplay Store, affording users access to digital purchase/rental of major U.S. movies.

When the Starz streaming platform last September rebranded to Lionsgate+ in 35 markets, excluding the U.S. and Canada where it remains Starz, separate business units Starzplay Arabia, along with South and Southeast Asia’s Lionsgate Play, did not change their brand names.

The store gives users expedited access to U.S. theatrical releases, including including John Wick 4, Warner Bros. Discovery DC Studios’ superheroes Shazam! Fury of the Gods, Black Adam, and the pending Transformers: Rise of the Beasts from Paramount Pictures.

“This expansion further empowers our users by giving them greater control and flexibility in their content consumption and choices,” Rida Mourtada, head of product at Starzplay, said in a statement. We are continuously refreshing the store to add the newest releases as soon as they become available & redefining how audiences experience movies.”

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Starz Sells Majority Stake in StarzPlay Arabia SVOD Service to Investor Consortium

Lionsgate-owned Starz March 17 announced a majority equity stake sale of approximately 57% in StarzPlay Arabia, the SVOD streaming service with about 2 million subscribers across 19 countries in the Middle East and North Africa, to a consortium of investors based in Abu Dhabi. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Starz and Lionsgate will maintain commercial agreements for content licensing to the venture. The transaction remains subject to regulatory approvals and certain administrative procedures.

“StarzPlay Arabia marked our first international initiative at a time when streaming internationally was still nascent,” Jeffrey Hirsch, president/CEO of Starz, said in a statement. “It served as a template for growth that allowed us to rapidly scale the brand around the world now in over 60 countries.”

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Consortium investors include E-Vision, (previously known as Etisalat Group), ADQ, an investment and holding company based in United Arab Emirates.

Maaz Sheikh, co-founder and CEO of StarzPlay Arabia, said the deal would enable the streamer to grow by focusing on original content production and advanced customer personalization.

“We thank them for their trust in our vision as well as our shareholders Starz and SEQ Investors for originally backing our idea and enabling us to turn our start-up aspirations into a flourishing business reality,” Sheikh said.