Starz! Realign in Cable Firmament

The Encore name in Starz Encore Group LLC is bowing out as the premium-cable movie service rebrands its channel lineup, changes its corporate moniker and comes up with a new logo.

The big changes don't become official until March 31, 2005, to give distributors plenty of time to incorporate them into marketing materials.

The new company name is Starz Entertainment Group, and the STARZ! channel names will become the lower case, exclamation point-less "Starz," but the changes are more than cosmetic.

The new Starz will repackage its lineup of channels, including replacing Starz Theater with Starz Edge, a film channel that will target the 18-34 male demo. It will also combine its Starz Kids and Starz Family channels into a single channel, and will add a Starz Comedy film channel.

The Encore name may be leaving the title, but it will now be affixed to each of the Encore suite of channels, i.e. Encore Westerns, Encore Mystery.

The changes come on the heals of its largest sub gain--950,000 for the second quarter--since 1998, and an average 25% ratings gain over all its channels over 2003.

The name changes are as follows:

Old                        New
STARZ!                 Starz
STARZ! Theater     Starz Edge
STARZ! Family       Starz Kids & Family
STARZ! Cinema      Starz Cinema
Black STARZ!         Starz In Black
STARZ! Kids          Starz Comedy

Encore                     Encore
True Stories             Encore Drama
Love Stories            Encore Love
Mystery                   Encore Mystery
Action                     Encore Action
WAM!                    Encore Wam
Westerns                 Encore Westerns

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.