Starz has apparently decided it can live without the hundreds of millions of dollars a renewal of its content licensing deal with Netflix was expected to bring and announced an end to negotiations today. According to the Company Town blog, talks broke down over Starz's insistence that Netflix implement tiered pricing, and charge customers even more for access to its content. That means when the current deal expires on February 28, 2012, they will all go away, including a number of its newer release flicks from Sony (already pulled) and Disney that Starz has exclusive licenses to and Starz content like Camelot and Spartacus. To make matters worse, all of this is going down the same day as a price hike makes it more expensive to keep both disc and streaming services.
While Starz claims the move is a part of its strategy to "protect the premium nature of our brand by preserving the appropriate pricing and packaging of our exclusive and highly valuable content" as well as "evaluate new opportunities", Netflix spokesman Steve Swasey is quoted as saying it can redirect the Starz money to deals with other content providers to "maintain or even improve the Netflix experience." Beyond Starz, in the US Netflix also has access to newer movies from its deals with Epix and a few smaller distributors like Relativity Media. Check Starz's statement in full after the break, and let us know if this is changing your answer to yesterday's poll question.
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Starz Entertainment Issues Statement on Status of Netflix Affiliation Agreement Renewal Discussions
STARZ ENTERTAINMENT LOGO Starz logo (PRNewsFoto/Starz Entertainment) ENGLEWOOD, CO UNITED STATES
ENGLEWOOD, Colo., Sept. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Starz, LLC, President and Chief Executive Officer, Chris Albrecht, issued the following statement today regarding the status of affiliation agreement renewal discussions with Netflix.
"Starz Entertainment has ended contract renewal negotiations with Netflix. When the agreement expires on February 28, 2012, Starz will cease to distribute its content on the Netflix streaming platform. This decision is a result of our strategy to protect the premium nature of our brand by preserving the appropriate pricing and packaging of our exclusive and highly valuable content. With our current studio rights and growing original programming presence, the network is in an excellent position to evaluate new opportunities and expand its overall business."
About Starz Entertainment
Starz Entertainment, LLC, is a premium movie and original programming entertainment service provider operating in the United States. The company offers 17 premium channels including the flagship STARZ® and ENCORE® brands with approximately 19 million and 32.9 million subscribers respectively. Starz Entertainment airs in total more than 1,000 movies and original series every month across its pay TV channels. Starz Entertainment is recognized as a pay TV leader in providing HD, On Demand, HD On Demand and online advanced services for its STARZ, ENCORE and MOVIEPLEX brands. Starz Entertainment (www.starz.com) is an operating unit of Starz, LLC, which is a controlled subsidiary of Liberty Media Corporation and is attributed to the Liberty Starz tracking stock group (NASDAQ: LSTZA).