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Starzplay to launch branded channels in France, Italy & Spain

Lionsgate-owned subscription video-on-demand service Starzplay has struck agreements to launch branded channels in France, Italy and Spain following its earlier launches in the UK and Germany.

“We’re pleased to report a strong quarter with continued robust free cash flow and solid contributions from all of our businesses,” said Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer as the company posted first quarter results yesterday.

“Our global content machine is operating at full throttle, and we continue to invest in a programming and international rollout strategy at Starz that is working. Our initiatives in the quarter continued to strengthen Lionsgate’s stature as a unique and essential part of the media ecosystem.”

Starzplay launched on Amazon Channels in the UK and Germany in May, bringing shows such as Vida and Sweetbitter and popular series such as BossParty DownSurvivor’s Remorse and Swedish Dicks (pictured) to subscribers in those countries.

Lionsgate has not revealed specific distribution agreements for its latest raft of European launches. Speaking to TBI’s sister title DTVE in June, Superna Kalle, EVP of international networks at Starz, said that the programmer planned to launch its SVOD service in 15 markets “all over the world” in three years.

Kalle said that Starz was open to partnerships with all players in the market, adding that “the beauty of our mode is that we are not exclusive to any distributor”. She said that it had made sense for Starzplay to debut in partnership with Amazon in the European market.

“We thought it was the best way to get into those markets,” Kalle told DTVE. “We are an original scripted content company that understands our audience and we don’t have billions of dollars to invest or to superserve content to everyone. Amazon was the best choice and it was a win-win for both companies. We don’t have a lot of incumbent businesses internationally.”

Kalle said that Starz remained a 100% English-language content service, adding that it was “too soon” to develop local content in international markets.

Lionsgate’s media networks segment revenue grew by 3% in the first quarter to US$354.9 million, due to strong OTT growth. Profits were flat year-on-year due to costs associated with Starz’s international rollout and an increase in domestic marketing spend.

Lionsgate reported that Starz had grown its base by 300,000 subscribers in the quarter both through distribution deals with multichannel video programming distributors and as an OTT TV service.

Lionsgate overall posted revenues of US$932.7 million and a net loss of US$7.9 million for the quarter.