Starz heats up brand iron

Encore label also attached to Action, Wam, Drama, Love

Talk about extreme makeovers: John Malone’s Starz Entertainment Group is rebranding all of its 13 pay TV networks, doling out new on-air looks and logos for each of the channels.

The seven networks that fall under the Encore rubric will get tied much more umbilically to Encore as a brand, a process that “will consolidate all of the channels under one master unit,” said Jerry Maglio, exec veep of marketing for SEG.

“Thematic multiplexes” is the way Encore describes its six network extensions, but now, instead of Westerns or Mystery getting the boldface treatment in all of the marketing, Encore will dominate the ads. It’ll be Encore Westerns and Encore Mystery, with the word Encore emphasized, Maglio said, to create brand identity in viewers’ minds.

The Encore label also gets attached to the four other channels: Action, Wam (for kids), Drama (formerly known as True Stories) and Encore Love.

Similarly, the name Starz will get pride of place in the labeling of its five multiplexes, which consist of Edge (targeting men 18-34), Comedy, Kids & Family, In Black and Cinema. Kids & Family combines two channels that were previously separate, and In Black used to be called Black Starz. Edge and Family are new, replacing Kids and Starz Theater.

Maglio said the number of movies usually divvied up among the 13 networks — about 750 titles a month — will not change.

One goal of this elaborate makeover, said Maglio, is to drive digital subscribers to Starz and Encore’s video-on-demand setup, which allows viewers to call up a movie at their convenience and rewind, fast-forward or pause the picture as though it were a prerecorded DVD.

“Our data indicate,” Maglio said, “that getting people to push those video-on-demand buttons on their remote cuts down dramatically on churn,” the industry noun for cancellation of the service.

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