Starz launches streaming service for $8.99 per month

Following the same route as HBO and Showtime, Starz has unveiled an $8.99 monthly streaming service that’s available online and via apps for Android and Apple devices, including the Apple TV.

Existing Starz’ customers who subscribe to the channel through a traditional pay TV subscription can use the app to access its programming.

And as a special offer, all new digital customers can watch the premiere episode of the new season of its popular original series “Outlander” two days before traditional subscribers can watch it on their cable or satellite service.

starz logoChris Albrecht, CEO of Starz, knows exactly who his company is targeting with the new service. In a statement, he said, “Our programming will now be more widely available to the 20 million broadband only homes of cord nevers, cord cutters and cord shavers, including Millennials and other underserved consumers who need other viable subscription service options.”

Starz has about 23.6 million subscribers today, according to SNL Kagan, just ahead of Showtime’s 23.4 million. HBO, who was formerly led by Albrecht, leads the three at 32.5 million, not including its streaming-only subscribers.

Amy Yong, a media analyst with Macquarie, told The New York Times that while Starz has improved over the years, it still suffers a “perception problem” compared with HBO and Showtime, whose shows “Games of Thrones” and “Homeland” are common conversations at the water cooler.

“Everyone knows and recognizes HBO and consumers can rattle off the last couple of shows on that network,” she said. “Starz still hasn’t found that voice with the consumer. They don’t have recognizable hits, but they are getting there.”

According to a CutCableToday analysis, Starz came in seventh place in terms of an average rating of originally produced shows at 71.6 percent. HBO led at 82.3, followed by Showtime (75.1); FX (74); and Netflix (73.6).