Starz this December will unbundle Encore Espanol for distribution on Spanish-language tiers, one of several changes planned for the eight-channel Encore multiplex suite of networks.
Beginning Dec. 2 the company will rebrand its Encore Drama channel to Encore Black, targeting African-American viewers, while catering to baby boomers with the rebrand of Encore Love to Encore Classic, said David Baldwin, executive vice president of program planning for Starz. In addition, the network will target young viewers with a daily, eight-hour primetime/late night block of horror films via its Encore Suspense channel.
“We never like to rest on our laurels; instead we wanted to take a great product and make it even better and, to a great extent, make it stickier to audiences,” Baldwin said. “Instead of trying to create something new and better out of the inventory and work it out toward the subscriber, we decided to take a look at our subscribers and work it back into creating channels specifically for them.”
Encore Espanol, launched in May and currently carried by telcos AT&T U-verse and Verizon FiOS, can now be offered outside of the Encore multiplex package by distributors on a lower-cost, Spanish-language tier.
“We feel that there’s room for a network that caters to first- and second-generation Hispanics,” he said.
Looking to cater to an older African- American audience, Encore Black will feature targeted movies from the 70s, 80s and 90s such as Losing Isaiah and Ali. In addition, the network will feature classic sitcoms including What’s Happening!!, Diff ’rent Strokes and 227.
Baldwin said Starz in Black has been one of its better performing channels. With African-Americans watching 37% more television than the U.S. television average, according to Nielsen, it made sense to offer the service.
Encore Classic will target viewers 50 years and older, who watch 24% more hours of television than the rest of the population, with such films as Kramer vs. Kramer, American Graffiti, Independence Day, Austin Powers and Good Will Hunting. Classic will also feature sitcoms, including Murphy Brown, Magnum P.I. and Night Court.
Between Encore Espanol, Encore Black and Encore Classic, Baldwin said, the company is targeting “the new majority in America” of African-Americans, Hispanics and baby boomers.
In a nod to the 18-49 crowd, Baldwin said Encore Suspense will program a nightly 9 p.m.-5 a.m. “Graveyard Shift” block featuring horror films such as Amityville Horror.