Starz Also Looking At Online-Only Streaming Service

sparctacusIn the wake of HBO’s still-vague announcement that it will soon be launching a streaming video service that doesn’t require a pay-TV subscription, Starz — the nudity and violence-loving competitor to HBO — says it is also looking into the possibility.

Starz CEO Chris Albrecht — taking a break from ensuring that all of his original programming maintains the proper nipple-to-decaptitation ratio that its viewers have come to expect — recently told reporters that his company is already planning an on-demand streaming service for international markets.

The premium network already offers a streaming service to subscribers in the U.S., but just like HBO Go, you need to first pay for TV service through a cable or satellite provider.

But Albrecht indicated that Starz is looking at options for an online-only service here in the U.S., which he views as an inevitability.

“This is a tide that has to turn,” he explained, saying that the value of a paid premium channel is constrained by the current business model.

“I don’t think it cannibalizes the existing business,” says Albrecht of skeptics’ claims that you can’t succeed in offering both a pay-TV service and an over-the-top online-only service. “It is a way to innovate and create real value.”

He explains that it’s important to attract those consumers who have either given up on pay-TV or have never given it a chance because there are plenty of non-cable entertainment options available.

“Let’s get them in the tent,” says Albrecht. “Let’s give them what they want.”

One statement from the CEO seems to indicate that, as we suggested in a previous story about the impending HBO service, that cable companies could benefit by continuing to do the billing for over-the-top services.

“The distributors have to decide they want to not just sell [cord-cutters] broadband but they want them to be video customers as well,” he explained. “To us this is a no-brainer.”

[via Variety]

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