Starz closed out its first full year as a standalone company with solid earnings and subscriber growth.
The pay TV group headed by Chris Albrecht reported full-year revenue growth of 9% to $1.77 billion. Operating income climbed 5% to $425.2 million. The Starz channel cluster added 1 million subscribers to hit 22.2 million, while the Encore themed channels upticked slightly during the year to 34.9 million subs.
In unveiling earnings, Albrecht cited the mothership channel’s ratings momentum with its slate of original series unfolding this year, which started with pirate drama “Black Sails” (pictured) in January. The Encore channel group has recently been overhauled to focus on new audience niches including African-American and Hispanic viewers.
Starz, like other media companies, continues to gobble up its own shares with buyback programs — although Starz was only spun off as a standalone entity from Liberty Media in late 2012, it has already repurchased 10.5% of its outstanding shares.
“This was another strong quarter for Starz and a strong end to 2013. During 2013, we delivered solid growth in revenue, Adjusted OIBDA, and subscriber performance,” said Albrecht. “Over the past year, we increased our investments in exclusive original programming at Starz and implemented new offerings to our Enore thematic channels for African-American, Latino, baby boomer, and millennial audiences.”