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Starz Play buys Showtime, CBS dramas

ZOO-epi101-0742biNew Middle East and North African on-demand service Starz Play has acquired programmes such as CBS summer event series Zoo and Under the Dome and Showtime Emmy-winner The Affair.

James Patterson-penned Zoo (pictured) recently debuted as the US’s most-watched summer season show, and last week held around 94% of its debut audience during episode two.

Also included in the exclusive agreement with CBS Studios International are seasons one and two of Showtime series Penny Dreadful and Ray Donovan and CBS summer event show Extant.

A number of the shows will launch on the SVOD platform soon after their US debuts.

The premium content deal is a boon for Starz Play, which has been tipped as a game-changer in the MENA region after its launch in 17 territories in April.

“This deal meets the rising demand for premium OTT content by the region’s burgeoning young population and recognises the unique opportunity the Middle East market presents,” said Starz Play president Maaz Sheikh.

CBS Global Distribution Group president and CEO Armando Nuñez described the agreement as “another great example of the growing licensing opportunities available for premium content from CBS in a very dynamic digital marketplace”.

Last month, Ovum, which TBI publisher Informa owns, predicted Starz Play would spark a series of foreign-owned SVOD platforms launching in MENA, in large part due to a strong want for entertainment programming in the Gulf region.

Netflix is widely tipped to launch in the region soon, making exclusive programming deals for Starz Play ever more important.