'Knives Out'

Source: Toronto International Film Festival

‘Knives Out’

Starzplay, the international streaming service of Lionsgate-owned premium cable network Starz, has signed a deal for split first pay streaming rights in the UK to Lionsgate theatrical releases.

The service will be able to stream films in the UK six months after the titles debut locally on Amazon Prime Video in the ‘pay-one’ window.

The multi-year agreement will cover recent Lionsgate films such as Knives Out, Bombshell, Angel Has Fallen and Rambo: Last Blood, together with theatrical releases from Lionsgate’s UK distribution operation including The Personal History Of David Copperfield and Military Wives.

Launched in 2018 to expand the Starz brand outside the US, Starzplay is now available through a patchwork of distribution deals in 49 countries, offering original series as well as films and series from Lionsgate’s 17,000-title library and third-party acquisitions. Future Starz original series will be available exclusively on Starzplay day-and-date with the US.

The service is currently available in Europe and Latin America on Apple TV and in France, Germany, Mexico and the UK on Amazon Prime Video. It can also be accessed in the UK on Virgin Media.

In its just-announced quarterly financial results for the three months to December 31 last year, Lionsgate reported that Starzplay had 2.7m subscribers internationally, up from 100,000 at the end of 2018. The separate Starzplay Arabia platform had 1.7m subscribers and US Spanish-language service Pantaya another 600,000. Worldwide, the company had 19.9m linear subscribers and 8.6m OTT subscribers.

Commenting on the unusual UK deal, Lionsgate president of worldwide television and digital distribution Jim Packer said: “One of our top priorities is to supply Starzplay with a deep roster of exciting Lionsgate content that complements their original programming and third-party acquisitions as they continue to launch their service around the world. This agreement reflects a thoughtful and flexible approach to our windowing strategies while building value through the continued combination of our IP creation and platform distribution capabilities.”

Starz executive vice-president of international digital networks Superna Kalle added: “We’re delighted to bring Lionsgate’s slate of star-driven and critically-acclaimed feature films to our UK subscribers. Offering consumers great content is key to growing our subscriber base as we continue our international rollout, and this partnership only scratches the surface of what Lionsgate and Starz can achieve together.”