Light Reading

Verizon Downloads 'Starz Play' Deal

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner

A telco, not a cable operator, has become the first to pull the trigger on Starz Entertainment LLC 's new premium IP video service -- and it's a doozy: Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ).

Under a deal that ties into a larger, multi-year carriage arrangement, Verizon will market the subscription-based Starz Play service to its 8.5 million broadband customers.

Playing with 'Starz Play'

According to a Website dedicated to the offer, Verizon is selling Starz Play for $5.99 per month, providing unlimited access to a library of about 2,500 movies and other video titles, including Ratatouille, Spider-Man 3, and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. Later this year, Starz Play will offer titles such as Superbad, Enchanted, and National Treasure: Book of Secrets. The Starz Play subscription also includes access to a live stream of the linear Starz channel and allows users to share downloaded titles on up to three authorized devices.

Consumers can sign up for Starz Play through Verizon but access it from anywhere in the United States, presumably via high-speed broadband lines run by cable operators and other broadband service providers that compete with Verizon.

"You don't have to reside within Verizon service territory to sign up for this," a Verizon spokeswoman says. All customers need is a credit card. However, existing customers will be able to bundle the Starz Play service on their Verizon bill.

Verizon is selling Starz Play as an add-on initially, though it's possible it could subsidize it and tie it in with high-speed service bundles. Verizon and Starz did not detail how they are dividing the monthly $5.99 subscription fee. The telco was not immediately available for further comment mid-day Tuesday.

Starz Play is a subset of Starz Entertainment's direct-to-consumer Vongo video service, which officially got off the ground in January 2006 and today sells for $9.99 per month. Although Starz Play does offer subscription movie downloads and access to the Starz channel, it does not offer the 200 pay-per-view titles that Vongo offers. Starz has not released any subscriber numbers for the Vongo service.

Among premium video services, Home Box Office Inc. (HBO) and Showtime Networks Inc. also have Internet-based products in the works that are designed to tie in with their cable and telco affiliates.

Earlier this year, Starz officials detailed some plans for the "Play" offering, noting that it was finalizing contracts with several large operators. Robert Greene, the EVP of advanced services for Starz, suggested that his company could have multiple deals to announce this year. (See Starz Shops IPTV Service.)

As part of the broader deal announced Monday, Verizon's FiOS TV platform has secured carriage of 16 linear networks (including hi-def feeds) from the Starz, Encore, and MoviePlex trio, for the telco's FiOS TV service. The deal also covers associated subscription-VOD fare, including HD-VOD titles.

– Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2012 | 3:40:09 PM
re: Verizon Downloads 'Starz Play' Deal
this isnt a bad deal if you dont mind watching a movie on a computer. if you could access this service right over your set-top box i think it would have a lot more appeal. but thats just me.
From The Founder
The comms industry is rallying to the cause of open, independent interoperability testing.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
LRTV Interviews
AT&T's Chiosi on the Potential of Open Source

10|6|15   |   06:27   |   (0) comments

AT&T Distinguished Network Architect Margaret T. Chiosi talks to Light Reading's Carol Wilson about the potential for open source technology to liberate communications service providers.
LRTV Interviews
Network Security in a Gigabit World

10|6|15   |   05:52   |   (0) comments

Masergy's James Harrison talks about some of the network security and data center issues network operators need to consider as they expand their broadband services portfolios.
LRTV Documentaries
Telefónica: In Search of Virtual Simplicity

10|5|15   |   07:30   |   (0) comments

Francisco-Javier Ramon Salguero, head of Telefónica's NFV initiative, admits virtualization initially means greater complexity, but with the right abstraction layer, it is possible to create a services-driven network architecture. He explains how Telefónica's current trials and initiatives are aimed at doing that, and what his company and other carriers need to ...
LRTV Interviews
Gigabit Europe Takeaways

10|5|15   |   03:47   |   (0) comments

Participants from the inaugural Gigabit Europe event in Munich share their key takeaways from the conference.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Intel Urges Women to Take Advantage of Their Seat at the Table

10|5|15   |   4:27   |   (1) comment

Have inclusive and constructive conversations, attach a bigger meaning to your work and get involved in the cause, Intel's Monique Hayward advises women in comms.
LRTV Interviews
BT Updates on Plans

10|2|15   |   03:16   |   (2) comments

Peter Bell, CIO at Openreach, the access network division at UK incumbent BT, provides an update on the operator's trials and how Openreach is planning to deploy the broadband technology in its street cabinets.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Sonus Shakes Up SD-WAN

10|2|15   |   7:22   |   (0) comments

Sonus CTO Kevin Riley sat down with Light Reading to discuss the trajectory of the company, its SDN ambitions and why Sonus is taking a market-disruptive approve to SD-WAN.
LRTV Interviews
CityFibre's Gigabit Vision

10|1|15   |   03:18   |   (1) comment

Mark Collins, director of Strategy & Public Affairs at competitive UK city network operator CityFibre, talks about his company's plans to help build Gigabit Cities.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Automate, Scale & Create With Juniper's vCPE Solution

10|1|15   |   6:34   |   (0) comments

Join Kireeti Kompella, Juniper Networks CTO, and Steve Saunders, Light Reading Founder and CEO, as they discuss Juniper Networks' approach to NFV showcased with a turnkey vCPE solution, which demonstrates how service providers can use automation to rapidly deploy services.
LRTV Interviews
Gigabit Europe: Day 1 Takeaways

9|29|15   |   05:47   |   (5) comments

Light Reading's Ray Le Maistre and Iain Morris sup a beer and discuss some of the key takeaways from the first day of Gigabit Europe 2015.
LRTV Interviews
Gigabit in Europe

9|29|15   |   04:24   |   (0) comments

At the Gigabit Europe 2015 event in Munich, Heavy Reading's Graham Finnie talks about the availability of gigabit broadband in Europe.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
AT&T's Band of Women

9|28|15   |   4:36   |   (0) comments

Brooks McCorcle, the president of AT&T's partner solutions divisions and a mathematician by trade, shares stats on AT&T's diversity and advice on how to create your own band of women at work.
Upcoming Live Events
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
November 17, 2015, Santa Clara, California
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Communication service providers realize that an ICT transformation is critical to their long-term survival, but most haven't yet committed to making it happen.
Hot Topics
Verizon's Go90 Is Live – Will Anyone Watch?
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 10/1/2015
Eurobites: Dunroamin'
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 10/2/2015
McKinsey: Women Less Likely to Advance at Work
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 10/1/2015
Sprint to Cut Up to $2.5B in 6 Months
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 10/2/2015
TiVo Takes Aim With Bolt
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 9/30/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
With so many new and exciting communications technologies now under development, it's easy to get caught up in the industry's escalating hype cycle. That's why the ...
Last week saw a big day in the 15-year history of Light Reading when Editor-in-Chief Ray Le Maistre and I were invited to interview the Deputy Chairman and Rotating ...
Cats with Phones
Hold My Calls, Indefinitely Click Here