– Starz and Bell Media to Rebrand pay TV channel TMN Encore –
– Multi-year agreement also features first pay window of future Lionsgate theatrical releases –
TORONTO, CANADA, and SANTA MONICA, CA, (January 23, 2018) – Bell Media, Canada’s leading content company, today joined with global content leader Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF.A, LGF.B) 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 rebranded 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.”
The deal was negotiated by Lionsgate EVP & Managing Director of Worldwide TV Sales Canada Susan Hummel under the direction of Packer and Lionsgate SVP Corporate Development & Strategy Miles Delaney, Starz VP of Corporate Strategy & Development Brad Worthington, and Starz international executive Superna Kalle. For Bell Media, the deal was negotiated by Jeff Hersh, Vice-President, Strategy and Distribution and Justin Stockman, Vice-President, Pay and OTT Services, under the direction of Tracey Pearce, President, Distribution and Pay, and Randy Lennox, President.
About Bell Media Bell Media is Canada’s leading content creation company with premier assets in television, radio, out-of-home advertising, and digital media. Bell Media owns 30 local television stations led by CTV, Canada’s highest-rated television network; 30 specialty channels, including TSN and RDS, and four pay TV services, including The Movie Network and Super Écran. Bell Media is also Canada’s largest radio broadcaster, with 215 music channels including 105 licensed radio stations in 54 markets across the country, all part of the iHeartRadio brand and streaming service. Bell Media owns Astral, an out-of-home advertising network of more than 30,000 faces in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Québec, and Nova Scotia. Bell Media also operates more than 200 websites; delivers TV Everywhere with its CraveTV and GO video streaming services; operates multi-channel network Much Digital Studios; produces live theatrical shows via its partnership with Iconic Entertainment Studios; and owns Dome Productions Inc., a multi-platform production company. Bell Media is part of BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE), Canada’s largest communications company. For more on Bell Media, please visit www.bellmedia.ca.
About Lionsgate The first major new studio in decades, Lionsgate is a global content platform whose films, television series, digital products and linear and over-the-top platforms reach next generation audiences around the world. In addition to its filmed entertainment leadership, Lionsgate content drives a growing presence in interactive and location-based entertainment, gaming, virtual reality and other new entertainment technologies. Lionsgate’s content initiatives are backed by a 16,000-title film and television library and delivered through a global licensing infrastructure. The Lionsgate brand is synonymous with original, daring and ground-breaking content created with special emphasis on the evolving patterns and diverse composition of the Company’s worldwide consumer base.
About Starz Starz (www.starz.com) a Lionsgate company (NYSE: LGF.A, LGF.B), is a leading global media and entertainment company that provides premium subscription video programming on domestic U.S. pay television networks and produces and distributes content for worldwide audiences, including its investment in the STARZ PLAY Arabia OTT service. Starz is home to the flagship STARZ® brand and STARZ ENCORE channels and provides high-quality, entertaining premium subscription video programming with 17 premium pay TV channels and associated on-demand and online services, including the STARZ app. Sold through U.S. multichannel video distributors, including cable operators, satellite television providers, telecommunications companies, and other online and digital platforms, Starz offers subscribers more than 5,000 distinct premium television episodes and feature films every year and up to 1,500 every month, including STARZ Original series, first-run movies and other popular movie and television programming.