Starz snags Fox for OTT service

Scripted-logo-460_2Maaz SheikhStarz Play has sealed a multiyear deal with Fox for its Starz Play OTT service in the MENA region, TBI has learned.

The agreement, between Starz Play and 20th Century Fox Television Distribution, gives the streaming service a slew of the Hollywood studio’s TV series and features, and means Starz Play has deals with most of the US majors.

Specific titles include TV series How I Met Your Mother, American Horror Story, The Americans, The Strain, Sons of Anarchy, 24 and Homeland. Starz Play will also get Fox network drama Empire, which is expected to fare well, with Starz original series Power among the most popular offerings on Starz Play.

Features include A Good Day To Die Hard, The Wolverine and Turbo.

The shows are in the second pay window, with pay TV platform OSN having them first. Starz Play, however, is offered at a much lower price point than pay TV, which targets well-off consumers in the region, meaning many of these shows will reach a large, young demographic for the first time.

Starz Play has deals with Disney, CBS, Paramount and Warner Bros. providing a new outlet for premium content owners. It is also working with independents including Sonar, and has just launched its Tom Hardy drama Taboo as a day-and-date exclusive.

“We’re working with almost all of the majors and some independents and Fox helps complete the offering,” Starz Play CEO Maaz Sheikh (pictured above right) told TBI.

John Penney“We’re trying to democratise high quality content across the region,” added Starz chief strategy officer John Penney (left). “Fox and others are recognising that we reach a new audience in the region and can help build their brands.”

Kristen Finney, executive VP of Europe, Middle East and Africa, 20th Century Fox Television Distribution, said: “With its SVOD service available throughout 19 countries in the MENA region, Starz Play will be the perfect SVOD home for audiences to further enjoy our television series and films.”

Starz Play is available througout MENA and Starz is working with telcos in several territories where broadband penetration is limited, bundling its service as the move to 4G continues.

It is now going up against Netflix in the region, but unlike the SVOD giant, which is increasingly focused on its own originals, Starz Play is building an offering based on big-ticket Hollywood series and movies, complemented by French and Arabic content. It has about 7,500 hours of content in total.