Bell Media, Canada’s leading content company, today joined with global content leader Lionsgate and Lionsgate’s Starz premium pay television platform to announce an exclusive, long-term alliance to bring Starz to Canada and distribute the first pay window of Lionsgate’s future theatrical releases in the territory.
The multifaceted agreement is a ground-breaking move by Starz and Bell Media to compete for premium subscribers on all platforms, and dramatically increases the value of Bell Media’s suite of premium subscription services, including pay television network The Movie Network Encore (TMN Encore), which Starz and Bell Media will rebrand next year.
The collaboration marks the first international launch of Starz since Lionsgate acquired the network in December 2016 as well as the first time it will be available in Canada. Starz content will be introduced across Bell Media platforms, including TMN Encore and Canada’s premium streaming service CraveTV.
TMN Encore will be re-branded in early 2019, with a slate of premium Starz programming and a broad selection of Lionsgate hit films and television series facilitating its transformation into a world-class platform. The newly branded service will also be available on a direct-to-consumer basis.
Starz, one of the most highly viewed premium pay television platforms in the U.S., features over 7,000 feature film and television titles and an original programming roster led by hits such as POWER and GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE and highly anticipated upcoming series including VIDA and SWEETBITTER.
“We’re delighted to bring Starz to Canada as part of our international channel rollout,” said Starz President and CEO Chris Albrecht. “Bell Media is one of North America’s elite content companies, and they bring great brand recognition, a massive consumer base, and unparalleled distribution skills to our alliance. This agreement creates the perfect foundation for the growth of Starz in the territory.”
“Bell Media is thrilled to be on board as Starz’s first international partner,” said Randy Lennox, President, Bell Media. “Starz is making waves with bold, fresh content that’s resonating with audiences around the world. We’re delighted to introduce this premium brand to Canadians as well as partner with Lionsgate on the distribution of their film properties going forward.”
Bell Media’s collaboration with Lionsgate also encompasses future exclusive first-window access to the studio’s slate of hit Hollywood movies. All Lionsgate films will also be available to subscribers of Bell Media’s French-language Pay TV service, Super Écran.
“Bell Media is the ideal partner to introduce Starz to Canadian audiences,” said Lionsgate President of Worldwide Television & Digital Distribution Jim Packer. “The Canadian marketplace offers tremendous opportunities for growth, and this multifaceted agreement enables us to deliver the robust slate of Starz premium programming as well as the future first pay television window for Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment films to Bell Media platforms.”
“Starz series and Lionsgate films add hundreds of hours of premium content every year to our already-rich offering,” said Tracey Pearce, President, Distribution and Pay, Bell Media. “We can’t wait to introduce the evolution of TMN Encore as it transforms into a newly-rebranded premier pay TV platform.”