Starz, the US pay-TV network, has struck a deal to build an OTT service that will launch in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America.
The company is creating the international Starz Play service with Peter Ekelund’s Parsifal Entertainment, which helped launch HBO’s streaming service in Nordic countries.
“What we focused on is how quickly and dramatically HBO succeeded with its Nordic programme,” said Chris Albrecht, Starz chief executive – and the former chief executive of HBO.
“The amount of money and capital investment needed to build these new platforms is a fraction of what it is to build a linear [television] channel,” he said. “This gives us an international business that has real potential.”
Parsifal, a Swedish media group, has invested alongside Starz in the new venture, together with unnamed financial institutions. “We’re seeing a lot of indigenous investors willing to partner with US companies to make a stand in their own territories,” added Albrecht.
Ekelund worked with HBO on its Nordic venture. “Viewing habits are changing,” he said. “With on-demand behaviour consumers are getting used to another way to watch television.”
Shares in Starz have doubled since the company was spun out of John Malone’s Liberty Media at the beginning of 2013.