×

Starz Chief Chris Albrecht Talks Evolving Cable Landscape

Starz CEO Chris Albrecht is unmoved by the advent of skinny bundles — the low-cost, digitally distributed channel packages that have emerged to challenge traditional cable-television products.

“We’ve had no expectations because we really are not in charge of that,” Albrecht said Friday at the Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills. How many resources MVPDs are investing in pushing skinny-bundle products — Albrecht cited AT&T’s DirecTV Now — is unclear to the premium channel chief. “It will continue to be a business that they invest in because they have to.”

The skinny bundles, he added, are marketed to customers who “are either downsizing or new customers,” Albrecht said. “I’m not sure that they have, and I know that we don’t have, a list of who’s who. I think that transition, certainly in the case of AT&T is certainly not offsetting them shutting down their U-verse platform. So each distributor has different challenges.”

Albrecht also said that mergers such as the recent acquisition of Time Warner Cable by Charter Communications, will continue to drive the entry of new products into the marketplace.

“There are different things that will impact it,” Albrecht said. “But the fact we’re longtime partners with these MVPDs, the fact that they’re finally realizing that they have to innovate to keep that customer relationship in the home, I think bodes well for the premium business that Starz has been in for decades.”

Starz last year launched its first direct-to-consumer app, allowing potential customers to circumvent MVPD distribution. But Albrecht said Friday that its offering as a premium cable channel is still the company’s primary business.

“Although there’s been some rocky news in the MVPD business, these are huge companies that have a lot invested in maintaining that customer relationship into the home, which they don’t get to do, by the way, through, Hulu, Netflix, Amazon,” he said.

He added, “We’re packaged in the premium space by the MVPDs with HBO and Showtime. Those are the people we look at as our core business. We’ve fared really well, but the OTT space is really the new frontier.”

In December, Lionsgate finalized a $4.4 billion deal to acquire Starz. The two companies had flirted with a possible merger for more than a year before a tentative deal was announced last June.

More TV

  • How Cooking-Travel Shows Are Changing TV

    How Cooking-Travel Shows Are Changing TV

    Toyo hunches over his street food stove, cooking tuna with a blow torch, stopping to light his cigarette with it and produce a cheeky grin. The Japanese chef, who owns a roadside stand in the city of Osaka, is one of many highlighted in the Netflix series “Street Food.” Over the course of 30 minutes, [...]

  • SAG-AFTRA HQ

    SAG-AFTRA Leaders Approve Proposal for New Film-TV Contract

    The SAG-AFTRA national board has approved proposals for a successor deal to its master contract covering feature film and primetime television — a key step in the upcoming negotiations cycle with companies. The board approved the package Saturday with the performers union declining to reveal any specifics — its usual policy. The board established the wages [...]

  • Shannen Doherty'Jennie Garth: A Little Bit

    Shannen Doherty Joins 'Riverdale' Season 4 in Luke Perry Tribute

    “Riverdale” is planning to make a special tribute to Luke Perry. The show’s executive producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa announced at Comic-Con that Shannen Doherty, Perry’s longtime friend and “Beverly Hills 90210” co-star, will guest star in the season 4 premiere. The tribute episode will “reflect Perry’s enduring legacy and the indelible imprint his character” Fred Andrews [...]

  • Supernatural CW

    'Supernatural' Team Gets Emotional Final Season Sendoff at Comic-Con

    The cast and creative team of “Supernatural” bid a fond farewell to the attendees of San Diego Comic-Con on Sunday. At the show’s final panel in the gargantuan Hall H, the team thanked the fans for all of their support over the years as the series prepares to enter its final season. “I’m trying not [...]

  • Alicia Rodis photographed by Alicia Rodis

    SAG-AFTRA Moves to Standardize Guidelines for Intimacy Coordinators

    SAG-AFTRA is moving to standardize guidelines for intimacy coordinators as part of an effort to establish policies for union members when their work involves nudity and simulated sex. “Our goal is to normalize and promote the use of intimacy coordinators within our industry,” said SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris. “Intimacy coordinators provide an important safety net for [...]

  • SDCC TV News Roundup: Syfy Releases

    SDCC TV News Roundup: Syfy Releases 'The Magicians' Season 5 Clip (Watch)

    In today’s SDCC TV news roundup, Syfy shares a clip from “The Magicians” Season 5, and Amazon sets the Season 4 premiere of “The Expanse.” CASTING Julie Gonzalo and Staz Nair have joined the cast of “Supergirl” for its upcoming fifth season. Gonzalo will portray iconic DC character Andrea Rojas aka Acrata, a polished businesswoman [...]

  • Doom Patrol -- Ep. 101 --

    'Doom Patrol' Renewed, Season 2 to Stream on DC Universe and HBO Max

    “Doom Patrol” has been renewed for a second season and will soon be available outside of DC Universe. At San Diego Comic-Con, series executive producer Jeremy Carver and star Diane Guerrero announced not only that the show will be back for another season but also that it will be available on HBO Max, the upcoming [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content