Lionsgate touted the expanded availability of its Starz premium channel, which launched this morning on Amazon Prime in the United Kingdom and Germany and will come next month to YouTube TV in the U.S.
“This is another major step in rolling out Starz as a global consumer brand,” said Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer during a call today with investors.
Feltheimer said Starz has more than doubled the number of streaming subscribers in the year, thanks in part to new programs. It also reduced online subscriber churn to its lowest level ever as data from the streaming business helps better target audiences. Overall subscriber numbers fell to 23.5 million, down about 700,000 from a year ago.
“In spite of disruption in the traditional MVPD universe, the success of our Starz OTT offerings allowed us to grow overall Media Networks segment revenue by 5% last year, and we anticipate growth again this year,” Feltheimer said.
Starzplay branded channels will bring Amazon Prime subscribers over 1,000 hours of premium Starz original series, Lionsgate shows like The Royals, Casual and Boss and blockbuster film franchises from Saw to The Hunger Games. Starz is offered as an add-on monthly subscription that costs 4.99 Euros.
The Amazon launch is a milestone in Lionsgate’s plan to roll out the Starz brand in 15 territories over the next three years, Feltheimer said.
Starz recently announced a deal with Bell Media to bring programming to Canada, with plans for a full over-the-top and linear rollouts slated for early next year. In the Middle East and North Africa, Starzplay Arabia venture is poised to cross the one million-subscriber mark, Feltheimer said.
In the U.S., Starz renewed its distribution deal with Amazon. It also plans to next month on YouTube TV, bringing the full array of programming to consumers via their Smartphones, tablets, PCs and connected TVs, Feltheimer said. Come October, it’ll be offered on Hulu.
“As our programming investment continues to bear fruit and as we roll out additional distribution partnerships, domestically and internationally, we’re locked and loaded for accelerated global expansion and overall subscriber growth in Fiscal `19,” Feltheimer said.