TCA17: Chris Albrecht Says Starz Enjoying Best of Both Worlds

Linear premium channels, Starz app clicking as originals draw new subscribers

Beverly Hills, Calif. — Despite fierce competition in the marketplace, Starz CEO Chris Albrecht says that the brand is clicking on all cylinders as it continues to create original programming targeted to underserved audiences.

Albrecht, who addressed TV critics during Starz’s TCA summer press tour session Friday, said Starz is enjoying the “best of both worlds” of a strong linear premium business—Starz’s subscribers are up 40% since it began developing original content seven years ago—as well as a burgeoning OTT offering through the Starz app.

“We are commited to growing this and we think that both sides can exist to each other's benefit," Albrecht said.

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Albrecht added that no particular show defines the Starz brand despite some audience and critical hits like Power, Outlander and American Gods, adding that certain shows will have appeal to the diverse audience segments Starz is hoping to serve including African-Americans, Hispanics and women.

“To the Power fan it’s the defining show on TV; for the Outlander fan that’s the defining show on TV,” said Albrecht. “Those people are signing up for different reasons, and we want to establish relationships with different groups.”

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Regarding American Gods, Albrecht said that the network is not opposed to continuing the series beyond a second season, but will take its cue from creator Neil Gaiman and production company Fremantle Media. “We are on board for as long as the show makes sense for Starz and we don’t see any end in sight,” he said. "It's a difficult show to do—there's alot of people to wrangle, so I can't tell you exactly when the next season will be on the air."