Advanced Television

Starz plans post Netflix digital strategy

November 18, 2011

Starz President Chris Albrecht has said his network would launch an HBO Go-like application to allow subscribers to watch its content on a variety of digital devices. Also, for the first time, he indicated a willingness to offer Starz directly to customers and not as part of a package of cable television channels.

In September, Starz decided not to renew its agreement with Netflix. Netflix reportedly offered Starz, which has about 19 million TV subscribers, more than $300 million per year to renew the digital distribution agreement. However, Starz wouldn’t extend the contract unless it was placed on a premium tier that cost customers additional money, a provision Netflix rejected.

Albrecht called the decision to cut ties with Netflix “a big boy choice” that will benefit his company in the long term. “We would have eroded…our core business,” Albrecht said at the investor conference for his channel’s parent company, Liberty Media. “Within two to three years the Netflix deal would have been a drag on Starz’s earnings.”

In addition, Albrecht said Starz is having discussions for other distribution deals with several of Netflix’s smaller competitors in subscription online video, which include and Blockbuster.

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