Comcast to Add New Starz Duo

Fulfilling an earlier carriage commitment to Starz Entertainment Group, Comcast Corp. will add a pair of new movie channels to its digital lineup on April 3.

RetroPlex and IndiePlex will be available to the majority of Comcast’s digital customers via its Digital Plus service.

Starz executive vice president of sales and marketing Edward Huguez said RetroPlex, targeting the 25-to-45 set, will offer films from the 1950s through the 1970s that “viewers are very familiar with and can watch over and over.” Sample titles: Five Easy Pieces, West Side Story and Patton.

Drawing a distance from Sundance Channel and Independent Film Channel, Huguez said IndiePlex, with movies like Leaving Las Vegas, Trainspotting and Do the Right Thing, will show “titles that have been theatrically released and thus have a broader appeal than you see on existing channels.”

This raises the Starz count to 16 movie services. The current lineup has seven Encore channels, six Starz channels and the omnibus Movieplex.

Last June, when Comcast extended its affiliate deal with Starz, it obtained access to 1,500 titles per year for on-demand and agreed to launch two new premium movie channels.

Starz plans to pitch the new channels to affiliates. That includes EchoStar Communications Corp.’s Dish Network, whose carriage contract with Starz expired on Jan. 31. Starz services are still on Dish as the two parties talk about a new deal.