Starz is leaning heavily on media-services outfit Deluxe to power its Play-branded suite of TV Everywhere online services and apps.
Deluxe Digital Distribution provides processing, protection and encoding systems for multiscreen access and delivery of Starz’s entire video library. Deluxe also is handling software and services for integration with the programmer’s distributors. Terms of the agreement weren’t disclosed.
Within the last six months, Starz has landed pacts for the Play services with DirecTV, Cox Communications, Verizon Communications’ FiOS TV and AT&T U-verse TV. Separately, the programmer has agreements with Comcast and Dish Network, which offer the programmer’s authenticated content through their respective TV Everywhere services.
Newly independent Starz, which parent Liberty Media spun off in January, has doubled down on TV Everywhere since its four-year distribution pact with Netflix rolled off in February 2012. The Netflix deal had irritated affiliates who believed the inclusion of TV-window content in the $8-per-month Internet streaming service hurt their ability to market Starz packages. The programmer has no plans to offer the Play services to Netflix or any other online video provider.
In TV Everywhere-land, Starz is chasing HBO Go, which got going way back in 2010 and is now available to virtually all U.S. pay TV subs. HBO recently extended its contract for another five years with Clearleap, which provides video processing and distribution services to HBO’s TVE affiliates, as well as subscriber authentication.
The 400 monthly titles available on Starz Play include originals Spartacus, Magic City and Boss, as well as movies from Disney and Sony Pictures plus library titles, while Encore Play offers around 900 selections. The apps are available for Apple iOS devices and online, over Wi-Fi and broadband connections in the U.S. The company is developing support for Android devices, game consoles and cellular links.
Burbank, Calif.-based Deluxe Digital Distribution is a business division of Deluxe Entertainment Services Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings.
The Deluxe solution “gives Starz the flexibility to package what they want to deliver to which devices, whenever they want,” Deluxe Digital Distribution president Kevin Corbett said.
Newly independent Starz is investing in its branded TV Everywhere services as it tries to catch up to HBO Go.