Starz Inks New Comcast Carriage Pact

Starz Entertainment and Comcast on Tuesday announced a multiyear, multiplatform carriage deal, which includes distribution of a new, authentication-based online movie service launching later this summer.

The agreement -- which replaces separate, existing Comcast deals for Starz and Encore -- calls for the MSO to distribute Starz's 16 linear premium movie channels and related high-definition services, according to network officials. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"The agreement with Comcast extends and expands our relationship in a way that benefits consumers and provides Comcast with even more flexibility in presenting our programming," said Bill Myers, Starz Entertainment's president and chief operating officer in a statement. "We are extremely pleased to enter into an agreement with one of our long-standing partners and provide them with a value-rich collection of premium programming across multiple platforms." 

In addition, Comcast will offer Starz' suite of online broadband services including MoviePlex Online, a new service expected to launch later this summer. The new MoviePlex Online will have at least 120 additional unique movies and TV series episodes, with many in HD and will offer additional monthly bonus selections, said network officials.

Comcast will also offer via broadband Starz Online and Encore Online, each of which offer 300 movies and original programming fare - most of which streamed in high-definition. Movie titles available through Starz Online include Up, Angels & Demons, District 9, G-Force, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, The Proposal, The Ugly Truth, Julie & Julia, The Taking of Pelham 123, and Race To Witch Mountain. Encore Online offers such titles like Hancock, Step Brothers, Hannah Montana: The Movie, The Sixth Sense, American Pie 2, Con Air, Parenthood, America's Sweethearts, G.I. Jane, and Steel Magnolias.

"Comcast is pleased to continue its partnership with Starz Entertainment and bring the wide selection of exclusive movies and increasingly popular original content to our existing and prospective Starz, Encore and MoviePlex customers," said Matt Bond, Executive Vice President of Content Acquisition for Comcast in a statement. "Extending the broader relationship between the companies provides a great pipeline of commercial-free movies and original programming for years to come."

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.