Starz Encore Group Llc. (Starz) plans to roll out a new corporate name, a new channel lineup and a new logo with updated on-air graphics and marketing materials in first quarter 2005. The purpose of the changes, the first comprehensive revision of the Starz family of channels since the company was founded in 1991, is, "to emphasize more clearly the array of popular programming genres available to Starz subscribers," said Starz president/coo Robert B. Clasen.
The changes will be fully rolled out on March 31, 2005, giving lead-time to enable Starz to provide its distribution partners with sufficient notice and materials so that they can incorporate the new looks into their marketing materials well in advance of the rollout.
The new corporate name, Starz Entertainment Group Llc. (Starz), is designed to simplify the company's identity, to emphasize its flagship channel and to embrace advanced services such as Starz Ticket and Starz on Demand.
The announcement follows the second-quarter addition of 950,000 new Starz subscribers, the largest quarterly increase by any premium television network since 1998. It also follows the announcement that ratings for all the Starz channels combined increased 25% from Jan.-Aug. 2003 to Jan-Aug 2004 as measured by Nielsen Media Research*.
Following an impressive increase in subscribers and a big ratings report, Clasen said, "We realized we could create a package of channels that more clearly showcases the range of film genres available to our customers. Replacing Starz Theater with Starz Edge, for example, provides a home for films that target the 18-34 male demographic. Combining Starz Kids and Starz Family makes sense because we can daypart them appropriately, airing films targeted to kids when they are most likely to watch and offering films for the whole family the rest of the time. This combination allows us to program a channel with films appropriate for families around the clock, but also to make room for Starz Comedy, a channel showcasing one of the most popular genres of movies."
Changes in the Encore package of channels include adding the Encore name to each of the following theme channels: Westerns, Wam, Mystery and Action. True Stories will be renamed Encore Drama and Love Stories will be renamed Encore Love.
Current Starz Lineup vs. New Starz LineupSTARZ! = StarzSTARZ! Theater = Starz EdgeSTARZ! Family = Starz Kids & FamilySTARZ! Cinema = Starz CinemaBlack STARZ! = Starz In BlackSTARZ! Kids = Starz Comedy
Current Encore Lineup vs. New Encore LineupEncore = EncoreTrue Stories = Encore DramaLove Stories = Encore LoveMystery = Encore MysteryAction = Encore ActionWAM! = Encore WamWesterns = Encore Westerns
The new logo, designed by Landor & Associates' San Francisco office, "incorporates a more contemporary, streamlined look and will provide flexibility for the creative team as they develop new looks and positioning for the channels," said Starz evp of marketing Jerry Maglio. This will form the basis for the logos of all the Starz channels and all other company materials in any medium.
"With the logo and the new channel names," Maglio said, "we send a clear message to our existing and future customers: Starz offers a family of channels, united in look and feel but with distinct programming formats that will appeal to all viewing tastes.
"The result will provide greater 'curb appeal' to consumers considering Starz. It will also reinforce the Starz name across all the channels, an important point in an era of audience fragmentation and confusion about channel identities," Maglio added.
Clasen said the new lineup will not diminish the total number of films available to Starz subscribers or change the studios they acquire from. "This is simply a better way to present the wide array of programming we have available and allow our customers to understand more clearly what choices they have."
Starz is the largest provider of premium movie services in the U.S. with approximately 164 million pay units. Starz Encore offerings include the Starz Super Pak, with up to 13 digital movie channels and more than 750 movies per month, Starz On Demand, the only on-demand pay TV subscription service available on cable, satellite and broadband platforms, and a suite of advanced video offerings, including STARZ! HD, Encore HD and Starz On Demand HD. Starz Encore (www.starzencore.com) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Liberty Media Corp.