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Starz makes first US D2C investment

Premium cable player Starz has made its first US investment in direct-to-consumer distribution by taking a stake in on-demand streaming service Fandor.

Albrecht_Chris_MAINStarz already has a Middle Eastern SVOD service, Starz Play Arabia, but has to this point not made any such plays in its home territory.

However, it has now led a US$7 million investment round in Fandor, which offers around 7,000 independent films at monthly rates ranging between US$7.50 and US$10.

“At a moment in time when Starz is aggressively extending its brands – geographically and technologically – we are excited to invest in Fandor,” Starz CEO Chris Albrecht (pictured) said in a statement.

This comes after Albrecht told TBI Starz was looking at “new distribution models”, including “going more direct to the consumer and reaching the consumer through different portals”.

Fandor launched in 2011, with the majority of its backing from former Facebook executive Chris Kelly, who is now company chairman. New investors the funding round include media and telecoms merchant bank LionTree Advisors and investment firm DNS Capital.

It has relatively few subscribers compared with Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant Video and Hulu, but it recently added former SundanceTV boss Larry Aidem as CEO and scored distribution agreements with Verizon video platform Go90 and emerging on-demand service Vessel.

Fandor is currently only available in North America, but plans to launch in Europe, Latin America and Asia.