“I think this highlights the value of premiums, I think this highlights the value of Starz,” CEO Chris Albrecht said today of the new deal with Amazon Prime announced earlier in the day. The e-retailer will now be selling Starz and Showtime and others to its Prime subscribers for $8.99 a month, on top of the current $99 annual fees. “We’re very excited about it, it’s our first opportunity to work with a digital distributor, the premium cabler boss told the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference in NYC on Tuesday. “We’re looking forward to a mutually beneficial partnership with them.”
“The Prime product is amazing, they’re retailers so I think this points out again how premium has always pulled through customers to other platforms,” Albrecht added. “Now we’re seeing maybe one of the world’s greatest retailers who is going to be seeing premium on top of what really is their core business.” While Albrecht wouldn’t reveal any specifics of the wholesale deal with the Jeff Bezos giant, he did say that Amazon set the $8.99 monthly price, which follows a 7-day free trial for potential subscribers. “This was a good deal for Amazon and for Starz or those guys wouldn’t have entered into it,” Albrecht asserted, while remarking that the cabler’s previous long-term distribution partners see different rates, that could be re-examined.
“While there might be a lot more TV out there, there’s still only the same number of premium channels so the more people that realize that value I think the better it is for Starz,” the CEO of the now Number #2 premium cabler behind HBO noted to the well-heeled crowd of media execs and investors.
“We obviously want to grow our business, we want to grow our topline, we want to grow our bottom line,” Albrecht said today. “It would be nice to see Starz diversify more than we are now, but ultimately the goal is to increase shareholder value.”
“We’re being careful in the decisions that we make because honestly, we want to have our cake and eat it too,” the exec deadpanned.
Albrecht also today discussed Starz’s reach into Female, African-American, Latino and other underserved demos and audiences in the five years he’s been in charge with programming like Outlander, Power and the Lebron James EP’d Survivor’s Remorse. “Our content strategy is always evolving, ” he said, pointing out upcoming series like American Gods from Bryan Fuller, based on Neil Gaiman’s award-winning book. “For us, it’s let’s target and get people in the tent and show them what we have and hopefully they’ll stick around.”