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Lionsgate Will Keep Starz, Spin Off Movie Studio Instead; Will Rebrand STARZ as ‘Lionsgate+’ in 35 Countries

David Satin

The saga at Lionsgate has had more twists and turns than an Oscar-winning drama. Earlier this summer, it was looking like a sure thing that the studio would attempt to spin off the network/streaming service Starz, turning it into a separate company that Lionsgate would still own a stake in.

Now, Lionsgate appears to be changing course. According to CNBC reporter Alex Sherman, Lionsgate is now looking to keep Starz, and will instead attempt to spin its movie studio off and sell a stake in that business instead.

Sherman’s reporting has been confirmed by a SEC filing of the announcement from Lionsgate.

“As negotiations progress we have increased our focus on the possibility of spinning our studio business, creating a number of financial and strategic benefits. In that regard, we are continuning productive negotiations with prospective strategic and financial partners on both sides of our business,” said the company in the filing.

Previously, Lionsgate was set to auction off a 20% stake in the spun-off Starz, so it’s likely that will be the percentage of its movie studio it intends to sell. Roku, DIRECTV, private equity firm Apollo Group, and Vivendi’s Canal Plus were all in the mix to buy the 20% stake in Starz, but it’s unclear if they’ll still be players for a slice of Lionsgate’s movie studio.

When Lionsgate last issued a report to stockholders, Starz’s streaming arm boasted 24.5 million subscribers, while the linear network was at 9.5 million. These combined totals are considerably smaller than most of its competitors, meaning that Starz will need to grow substantially to compete with the likes of Netflix, Prime Video, HBO Max, Disney+, and others. Lionsgate apparently thinks that growth potential is quite robust, which explains their reluctance to spin off Starz.

As noted by Sherman, the decision to keep Starz in-house has also led to a significant global rebranding. The streaming arm of Starz will be re-designated as “Lionsgate+” in 35 countries, yet another signal that Lionsgate wants to stay closely tied to Starz.

“Operating under Lionsgate+ internationally brings a distinct and differentiated identity in an increasingly crowded international marketplace and builds on the brand equity in the Lionsgate name that our extensive research has proven is strong around the world,” said Starz CEO Jeffrey Hirsch according to Deadline. “Even with the separation of STARZ and the Lionsgate studio business, the Lionsgate brand will continue to be valuable to the ongoing success of our international platform.”

STARZ

STARZ offers a subscription video streaming service that gives access to content on the STARZ channel without the need of a cable subscription. With your subscription, you’ll get access to all of their current originals like Outlander, The Serpent Queen, and Power.

The service also offers a large rotating library of older films like Die Hard, The Big Lebowski, Fargo, 12 Monkeys, and A Beautiful Mind.

You can subscribe for $8.99 a month either directly from STARZ, or through Amazon Prime Video Channels, Apple TV Channels, or Roku Premium Subscriptions.

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