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Starz Ramps Movie, Series Production

8/28/2006 11:00 PM Eastern

Starz Entertainment Group is significantly ramping up its production of original series and movies for network and theatrical distribution, following parent Liberty Media Corp.’s acquisition of IDT Entertainment. Starz plans to announce Tuesday morning that it will combine IDT with SEG.

IDT has been renamed Starz Media, while SEG becomes plain old Starz Entertainment. Industry veteran Robert Clasen is chairman of both units, along with parent company, Starz, LLC.

While Starz Kids & Family will premiere Eloise from IDT’s Film Roman arm, Clasen said the goal of the combined company isn’t to develop large amounts of original programming for Starz thematic cable channels to help it compete against HBO and Showtime.

Instead, the company will look to drive new revenue through the production of original series and movies that will be sold to networks ranging from Showtime to Sci Fi Channel. “This is not heralding the era of major originals on Starz. Movies make us,” Clasen said.

Clasen said Starz will also look to use the IDT acquisition to boost its production of broadband Internet content for cable distributors. He also said the company would consider experimenting with releasing new movies simultaneously in movie theaters and cable video-on-demand platforms.

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