Starz and Comcast have finally ended their battle over the cable giant’s plan to drop the TV network that’s home to “Power” starring rapper Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson.
Comcast said Monday that it will keep Starz through the final series of “Power,” ending on Feb. 9. After that, Starz will no longer be bundled as part of a premium offering alongside HBO and Showtime.
Viewers who want to buy Starz via Comcast can pay for Starz a la carte for a yet-to-be disclosed sum.
Financial terms of the deal , which has been described as “long-term” were not disclosed.
Under the deal, Comcast’s NBCUniversal will license content from Starz parent Lionsgate for its streaming service, Peacock, which launches in April. Lionsgate is the studio behind such movie franchises as the “Hunger Games” series, “Twilight,” and “Saw.”
Shares of Starz parent Lionsgate rose over 8 percent in midday trading to $10.85. Comcast shares remained flat at $44.13.
The move comes after Comcast told subscribers in October that Starz would be swapped out of its premier cable package and replaced with cable channel, Epix. Viewers were told they’d have to pay an extra $12 to retain Starz, rankling cash-strapped subscribers.
At the time, Comcast cited increasing options for subscribers, noting that Starz is selling directly to consumers online through streaming platforms like Amazon Prime and Roku.
The decision caused an uproar not only among “Power” fans, but also lawmakers and The Department of Justice, which had been looking into whether Comcast was in violation of antitrust laws and a franchise obligation to promote diverse shows.
As part of Monday’s deal, Starz will also license content from NBCUniversal Pictures, home to the “Jurassic Park” series, “E.T.,” and the “Fast & Furious” and “Despicable Me” series.
“We look forward to continuing our longstanding partnership with Comcast to deliver great content and great value to our customers,” said Starz president and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Hirsch. “Our ongoing relationship with Comcast reflects our ability to unlock opportunities across all of our businesses to the benefit of our subscribers.”
Author: Alexandra Steigrad