Albrecht: Starz Evaluating Direct to Consumer Offering

Starz CEO Chris Albrecht said the premium channel is evaluating the possibility of launching its own standalone, direct-to-consumer service a la HBO Now and Showtime’s OTT service, but said that at the moment it is concentrating on its Starz Play TV Everywhere  strategy.

Albrecht, speaking on a conference call with analysts to discuss second quarter results, said that the company continues to roll out its Starz Play service, which lets current Starz customers access content on multiple devices. He added that new platforms and devices will be introduced  for the service, which is sold through its relationships with multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs), in the future.

Albrecht said Starz believes there is still value in TV Everywhere, and acknowledged that other players like Home Box Office and Showtime have launched standalone products recently. While Starz is keeping an eye on those products, he said he has yet to see hard data concerning such services.

“We certainly see an increased interest; new distributors [are] placing value on premiums, ” Albrecht said of a Starz direct-to-consumer product. “We think that is a good story for Starz. We are evaluating what others are doing; it’s early days, we have yet to see any hard reported data on the benefit of that to brands. That said, I can tell you that a lot of people are interested in distributing Starz. We have the full capability of following in the footsteps of what other premium brands are doing. We are evaluating all of these things on the basis of which ones we think provide the best net benefit to Starz.”