With 21.5 million Netflix streaming subscribers set to lose access to Starz's movies and television shows in February, the premium cable channel is planning a big digital push of its own in 2012.
Starz President Chris Albrecht said at an investor presentation in New York on Thursday that his network would launch an HBO Go-like application to allow subscribers to watch its content on a variety of digital devices. Also, for the first time, the executive indicated a willingness to offer Starz directly to customers and not as part of a package of cable television channels.
In September, Starz decided not to renew its agreement with Netflix.
Netflix offered Starz, which has about 19 million TV subscribers, more than $300 million per year to renew the digital distribution agreement, according to people familiar with the matter who were not authorized to discuss it publicly. But Starz wouldn't extend the contract unless it was placed on a premium tier that cost customers additional money, a provision Netflix rejected.
Albrecht called the decision to cut ties with Netflix "a big-boy choice" that will benefit his company in the long term. "We would have eroded ... our core business," Albrecht said at the investor conference for his channel's parent company, Liberty Media. "Within two to three years the Netflix deal would have been a drag on Starz's earnings."