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Starz Streaming Usage Up 44% During Pandemic

(Image credit: Starz)

Lionsgate-owned premium programmer Starz said its overall viewing is up 35% since March 14, the beginning of pandemic-based shelter-in-place viewing consumption.

Average viewership on the Starz app is up 44%, while usage of the Starz premium cable channel has increased 33%.

Starz CEO Jeffrey Hirsch made the revelation on CNBC over the weekend, where he discussed Starz’s overall strategy. You can see the short interview with Hirsch here

Starz, he said, is sold as a “premium add-on,” which “compliments” Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu or any of the “broad-basic” SVOD services that looking to “replace pay TV.”

Rather than being driven by individual hits, Starz is benefitting from a “portfolio approach,” Hirsch said, whereby movies like recent Quentin Tarantino box office smash Once Upon a time in Hollywood compliment tentpole series like Outlander and keep viewers coming back to the platform week after week. 

Also notable: in a direct-to-consumer world in which the Starz app is sold directly to consumers instead of the service being peddled through pay TV operators, Hirsch said, “Starz does become a more profitable company.” 

Hirsch, meanwhile, addressed another common video programming topic amid the pandemic—a shortage of shows caused by production stoppages. He said that since Starz works a year ahead, “most shows that come online this year are already in post production,” and that things like “virtual editing and virtual sound mixing” are doable amid “an unprecedented time for our industry.”