Starz Re-Brands Encore Channels

Starz this December will unbundle Encore Espanol for distribution on Spanish-language tiers, one of several changes planned for the eight-channel Encore multiplex suite of networks.

Beginning Dec. 2 the company will rebrand its Encore Drama channel to Encore Black, targeting African-American viewers, while catering to baby boomers with the rebrand of Encore Love to Encore Classic, said David Baldwin, executive vice president of program planning for Starz. In addition, the network will target young viewers with a daily, eight-hour primetime/late night block of horror films via its Encore Suspense channel.

“We never like to rest on our laurels; instead we wanted to take a great product and make it even better and, to a great extent, make it stickier to audiences,” Baldwin said. “Instead of trying to create something new and better out of the inventory and work it out toward the subscriber, we decided to take a look at our subscribers and work it back into creating channels specifically for them.”

Encore Espanol, launched in May and currently carried by telcos AT&T U-verse and Verizon FiOS, can now be offered outside of the Encore multiplex package by distributors on a lower-cost, Spanish-language tier.

Looking to cater to an older African- American audience, Encore Black will feature targeted movies from the 70s, 80s and 90s such as Losing Isaiah and Ali. In addition, the network will feature classic sitcoms including What’s Happening!!, Diff ’rent Strokes and 227.

Encore Classic will target viewers 50 years and older, who watch 24% more hours of television than the rest of the population, with such films as Kramer vs. Kramer, American Graffiti, Independence Day, Basic Instinct (pictured) and Good Will Hunting. Classic will also feature sitcoms, including Murphy Brown, Magnum P.I. and Night Court.

In a nod to the 18-49 crowd, Baldwin said Encore Suspense will program a nightly 9 p.m.-5 a.m. “Graveyard Shift” block featuring horror films such as Amityville Horror.

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.