Starz Entertainment's Clasen Dishes on Netflix Pact

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On the eve of becoming a separate publicly traded company, Starz Entertainment CEO Bob Clasen cleared the air regarding its online agreement with Netflix, adding that he plans to stick with the service despite objections from some cable operators.
Clasen, on a conference call with analysts Thursday, the eve of the debut of Liberty Starz stock (which will include Starz, WildBlue, PicksPal, Fanball, FUN Technologies and about $650 million in cash), said that Starz has been accumulating IP rights for the movies it airs for years without any objections from operators. And its past independent online ventures - including Vongo, which was shuttered in 2008  - barely caused a ripple in the multichannel community.
"Netflix proved the point. Nobody paid attention to our IP products until we did that affiliation agreement ...," Clasen said. "There is no question when we were in the market in 2004 we were early, but a year later people were streaming Desperate Housewives.
Our intent has always been to be supportive of our affiliates and have products. But we needed to prove value. We were late to the table with HD and On Demand while our competitors gave it away to our affiliates. We think those are valuable products that should have been worth money. We think the IP rights are worth money. Our deal with Netflix got everyone's attention that there was value for this product. Nobody is going to drop 20-some channels and five HD services over the Netflix deal."

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