Starz Launches Standalone Streaming Service For $9/Month

Starz officially joined the ranks of HBO and Showtime on the standalone streaming service bandwagon less than a year after the company’s CEO said the channel was taking a wait-and-see approach when it came to creating the option. 

The new streaming service comes out of the gate aiming for its competition by way of customers’ wallets. Starz’s service will cost $8.99/month, undercutting the prices for rival streaming services HBO Now (14.99/month) and Showtime ($10.99/month).

Starz has previously offered streaming access to its library of movies and original shows — but only to customers who subscribed to the network through participating cable providers. In Dec. 2015, Starz began selling online access as an add-on to Amazon Prime. This new streaming service, which does not offer live access to the network, now expands the offer to anyone without requiring any other subscriptions.

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The app is available on mobile for devices running either the iOS or Android operating systems.

Additionally, users of the service will have the option to download programs for viewing without WiFi or broadband connections.

“Starz has entered the market today with an enormous value proposition for consumers,” Chris Albrecht, Starz CEO, said. “Our programing will now be more widely available to the 20 million broadband-only homes of cord nevers, cord cutters and cord shavers, including Millennials and other underserved consumers who need other viable subscription service options.”

In a bid to attract customers to the service a bit early, Starz says it will stream the first episode of Outlander’s second season two days before it premieres.

Starz first threw its hat into the streaming service ring in October 2014, when CEO Albrecht declared that premium channels like Starz were seeing “significant value” constrained by cable operators requiring that customers purchase basic pay-TV service before they could get access to the premium networks.

Months later, however, he pulled back, noting that the company was instead throwing all of its resources behind the company’s companion streaming service Starz Play, which is free for subscribers who get Starz through their cable/satellite providers.

“We are evaluating what others are doing,” Albrecht said at the time. “It’s early days. We have yet to see any hard reported data on the benefits of that to brands.”