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Comcast and Starz strike streaming-era carriage deal

Starz series Outlander

Comcast and Starz have agreed upon a long-term carriage deal intended to pave the “path for an orderly transition to an à la carte” television business model.

The two companies had been locked in a carriage dispute since August when Comcast threatened to drop Starz from its bundle, which would have cost the premium network around one-third of its US subscribers.

Today (23 December), the two groups announced a deal that will keep the collection of Starz channels within Comcast’s Xfinity TV cable package, and extend carriage onto each company’s streaming properties.

As part of the deal, Comcast will licence content from Starz parent company Lionsgate for Peacock, its streaming service set to launch in April. Starz will also license content from Comcast-owned NBCUniversal for its streaming service, Starz Play.

“We are pleased that we were able to extend the partnership to Peacock and other businesses within Comcast while also ensuring Xfinity customers continue to enjoy great Starz programming,” said Dana Strong, president of consumer services for Comcast Cable.

The Starz package, which includes the flagship channel, Starz Encore, Encore Westerns, Encore Black, and Encore Action, will also be distributed on Flex, Comcast’s streaming platform. Comcast recently started making Flex boxes free for broadband subscribers as the company battles cord-cutting and competition from the likes of Roku and Amazon.

“We look forward to continuing our longstanding partnership with Comcast to deliver great content and great value to our customers,” said Jeffrey Hirsch, Starz president and chief executive. “Our ongoing relationship with Comcast reflects our ability to unlock opportunities across all of our businesses to the benefit of our subscribers.”

Comcast will present Peacock during an investor day on 16 January. According to CNBC, Peacock will include live programming and have a tiered pricing model.

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