Bell Media has entered into a long-term pact to bring the Starz premium pay-TV channel to Canada, as well as distribute the first pay window of Lionsgate’s future theatrical releases in the territory.
Starz and Bell will be rebranding The Movie Network Encore (TMN Encore) in early 2019. The newly branded service will feature a slate of premium Starz programming and a wide selection of Lionsgate films and series. Starz originals include Power and The Girlfriend Experience, alongside upcoming series such as Vida and Sweetbitter.
“We’re delighted to bring Starz to Canada as part of our international channel rollout,” said Starz’s president and CEO, Chris Albrecht. “Bell Media is one of North America’s elite content companies, and they bring great brand recognition, a massive consumer base, and unparalleled distribution skills to our alliance. This agreement creates the perfect foundation for the growth of Starz in the territory.”
“Bell Media is thrilled to be on board as Starz’s first international partner,” said Randy Lennox, the president of Bell Media. “Starz is making waves with bold, fresh content that’s resonating with audiences around the world. We’re delighted to introduce this premium brand to Canadians as well as partner with Lionsgate on the distribution of their film properties going forward.”
Bell Media’s partnership with Lionsgate also encompasses future exclusive first-window access to the studio’s slate of Hollywood movies. All Lionsgate films will also be available to subscribers of Bell Media’s French-language pay-TV service Super Écran.
“Bell Media is the ideal partner to introduce Starz to Canadian audiences,” said Lionsgate’s president of worldwide television and digital distribution, Jim Packer. “The Canadian marketplace offers tremendous opportunities for growth, and this multifaceted agreement enables us to deliver the robust slate of Starz premium programming as well as the future first pay television window for Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment films to Bell Media platforms.”
“Starz series and Lionsgate films add hundreds of hours of premium content every year to our already-rich offering,” said Tracey Pearce, the president of distribution and pay at Bell Media. “We can’t wait to introduce the evolution of TMN Encore as it transforms into a newly rebranded premier pay-TV platform.”