Starz, Bell Media Plan Canada Streaming Launch, Encore Rebrand In March


After Starz laid considerable groundwork in 2018 for the international expansion of its subscription streaming app, the Lionsgate-owned premium network and Bell Media have announced March 1 as the launch date in Canada.

The news about the rollout up north came just prior to Lionsgate reporting its quarterly earnings, where Starz is sure to be a major topic. It also included an updated stat from Bell, which said its Crave subscription service — which will house Starz — has reached 2.3 million subscribers. Last fall, Lionsgate said Starz had passed 3 million paid streaming customers in the U.S.

Also on March 1, pay-TV sibling Encore will rebrand as Starz on two linear channels and in pay-TV operators’ on-demand venues. (Encore became “Starz Encore” in the U.S. in 2016.) A week after that, Starz will become available directly across Canada as an add-on to Crave for an extra $6 a month. The streaming service can be accessed via, the Crave app on iOS and Android, and Apple TV Generation 4. Additional platforms will roll out in the coming months, the companies said.

Crave, which re-launched in November 2018, also offers HBO, Showtime, Vice (which was originally founded as a magazine in Montreal), as well as movies and children’s programming.

“Bringing Starz to Canada is testimony to the continued commitment to offer our viewers exclusive, premium programming at an unparalleled value,” said Tracey Pearce, President, Distribution and Pay for Bell. “Our amazing partners at Starz have been integral to this mandate with their genre-bending, stand-out programming, making the addition of Starz a must-have for discerning Canadian viewers.”

Superna Kalle, EVP of International Digital Networks for Starz, called Bell Media “the ideal partner in Canada,” adding, “We are excited to see this opportunity come to fruition and look forward to introducing Canadian audiences to all of the premium content that Starz has to offer.”

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