Cox pay TV customers can now start streaming exclusive online content from the Starz Network with Starz Play and Encore Play. This is the first deal that Starz has announced with a major pay TV company, though similar deals with other pay TV providers are in the works. Cox also plans to start offering Starz’s Movieplax Play, though there is no set time table for its launch.
Starz’s won’t be offering their authenticated streaming services as a standalone service, and it won’t be available to pay TV customers without a Starz subscription. What these services offer is unlimited streaming access to the content, which is currently available to Cox customers with Starz subscriptions. With the new streaming service, Cox subscribers can now access over 1,500 movies, originals and other TV content from Starz every month.
“We are very pleased to partner with Cox in launching the Starz Play and Encore Play suite of authenticated online products that we believe will bring tremendous value to our premium subscribers,” said Starz CEO Chris Albrecht. “Starz and Encore have long been pioneers in the deployment of advanced services, being the first premium networks to offer authenticated access to our programing through distributors’ online platforms. Now, from big screens to mobile devices, a deep collection of movies and original programming from Starz and Encore provides a winning combination for both our distributors and customers.”
“We are thrilled to be the first distributor to provide the Starz Play and Encore Play suite to our customers,” said Mark Greatrex, Cox Communications’ marketing chief, in statement. “What’s more, this is a tremendous benefit for our Cox high-speed Internet bundle customers who now can watch their favorite premium programming anytime, anywhere, all while enjoying the value of Cox’s bundle.”
The real question now is whether this streaming service will be made available in the future as a TV Everywhere service. Currently, most pay TV companies only allow online streaming in the home, and it looks like this new service may not be any different. Cox subscribers won’t be able to stream their favourite Starz shows outside the home, since content providers consider outside the home streaming as requiring separate broadcast rights that deserve additional fees. In essence the problem isn’t the technology—it’s how content rights are defined and what content providers want to charge for the convenience of being able to stream content outside the home. Until this issue is settled, true TV Everywhere will be nothing more than just another nice idea.