Verizon Communications is the fourth affiliate to get on board for Starz’s branded TV Everywhere services, as the premium programmer works to battle over-the-top rivals like Netflix as well as catch up to HBO in the authenticated-content arena.
FiOS TV customers who subscribe to the linear Starz and Encore channels now have access Starz Play, which provides about 400 movies and original series episodes monthly, and Encore Play, with around 900 selections. Verizon already provided authenticated Starz content through its own website at www.verizon.com/tvonline.
In the last four months, Starz has landed pacts for the “Play” services with DirecTV, Cox Communications and AT&T U-verse. The programmer also has agreements with Comcast and Dish Network, which offer the programmer’s authenticated content through their respective TV Everywhere services.
The Starz 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.
“We are delighted to further enhance the great entertainment value that FiOS offers with the addition of Starz Play and Encore Play for our customers,” Terry Denson, Verizon’s vice president of content strategy and acquisition, said in a statement. “Complimentary portable and online viewing of premium content is a great way to increase the value of our customers’ subscriptions and we are very pleased to work with Starz to help deliver the best value for our FiOS customers.”
Separately, last week Verizon added content from 11 NBCUniversal networks to its TV Everywhere website lineup. The telco also has TV Everywhere agreements with programmers including ESPN, Turner Broadcasting System, HBO, Fox, NFL Network, Showtime Networks and Viacom.
Starz Play features about 300 movies per month, including films from Disney (Brave, The Muppets) and Sony Pictures Entertainment (The Amazing Spider-Man, Men in Black 3), as well as 100 episodes of original series including Spartacus. Encore Play selections include Cars 2, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and the original series Titanic: Blood and Steel.
Starz’s TVE services are “enjoying a warm and enthusiastic reception from our distribution partners and their subscribers and we look forward to more rollouts and service enhancements throughout the year,” president of affiliate distribution Ed Huguez said in a statement.