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via press release:

STARZ PLAY ARABIA LAUNCHES ON APRIL 2ND  IN 17 COUNTRIES:

NEW, PREMIUM CONTENT DIRECT-TO-CONSUMER SUBSCRIPTION VIDEO BUSINESS

FOR MIDDLE EAST & NORTH AFRICA MARKETS

First STARZ-Branded Service Outside of U.S.

Multiplatform Service Features Exclusive STARZ Original Series,
Other Licensed TV/Movie Content From Major Hollywood Studios
and U.S. Pay TV Networks

Maaz Sheikh Hired as President/COO to Run STARZ PLAY Arabia Venture

Powerful, Consumer-Friendly Technology Platform to Support Innovative Product Offerings in High-Growth, International Markets

Beverly Hills, Calif. – April 1, 2015– Starz (NASDAQ: STRZA, STRZB) announced details of the STARZ PLAY Arabia launch on April 2nd in 17 countries. The first international STARZ PLAY is a new, premium content, direct-to-consumer multiplatform subscription video service developed in conjunction with the Parsifal Entertainment Group for select markets in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).  As part of Starz’ STARZ PLAY International initiative, STARZ PLAY Arabia marks the first time that Starz has extended its flagship brand in a service offering outside of the United States.

Maaz Sheikh, former Chief Sales and Operations Officer of a leading pay TV network in MENA, is the lead executive of STARZ PLAY Arabia and serves as its President and Chief Operating Officer.

STARZ PLAY Arabia debuts in 17 countries and territories throughout the region with a particular early marketing emphasis on the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, including:  Bahrain, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. Other countries where the service is available include:  Algeria, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Palestine, and Tunisia.

STARZ PLAY Arabia presents an offering that is optimized for the respective Middle East and North Africa markets, and is rich in original programming and other blockbuster movie, premium series and kids content from other partners. STARZ PLAY Arabia extends the STARZ PLAY brand, currently used in the United States for the Starz TV Everywhere offerings, and initially offers more than 3,000 movies and a wide selection of TV series for $13.99/month, a 30-day free trial, and no monthly contractual obligations.  The SVOD service will be available on PCs and Macs, iPhones, iPads, and Android devices at launch.

In addition to a growing portfolio of fully-owned STARZ Original series, including “Black Sails,” “Power,” “Survivor’s Remorse,” “Spartacus,” “The White Queen,” “Magic City,” and more included STARZ PLAY Arabia’s TV series offerings, the service will also include a wide selection of movie content, including new releases and library content, licensed from Hollywood major, mini-major and indie film studios and from around the globe, including content from leading pay TV networks.

“Starz is very pleased with the launch of the world-class STARZ PLAY Arabia partnership in the Middle East and North Africa.  This is the first time a STARZ-branded service has been launched outside of the United States,” said Chris Albrecht, Starz CEO.  “Taking the STARZ brand to these markets with the latest video distribution technology represents an innovative opportunity to grow the Starz business.  STARZ PLAY Arabia has a strong content foundation in place anchored by the growing worldwide portfolio of STARZ Original series programming and leveraged with a smart mix of other premier licensed product through our relationships within the industry.”

Maaz Sheikh commented, “STARZ PLAY Arabia has a unique opportunity to fill a market need and offer the growing Internet savvy population of the region the best in TV and movie content, at an affordable price point, and with high-value convenience and control. We have aggregated a compelling collection of great original programming including STARZ Original series and movie content from around the world. Our content will be presented in a culturally sensitive way and will be a showcase technologically, with a strong consumer value proposition.”

“We are very pleased with the prospects of Starz entering the MENA markets. STARZ PLAY Arabia is a compelling business opportunity to sell a high-quality STARZ PLAY service direct-to-consumers and, potentially, through incumbent video and telecommunications infrastructure providers as a must-have premium add-on,” added John Penney, Chief Strategy Officer for Starz.  “Starz will continue to be aggressive and innovative in leveraging its original programming portfolio to identify and establish new, global revenue growth opportunities for the company.”

Peter Ekelund, owner of Parsifal Entertainment Group, commented, “I am very delighted to be partnering with Starz.  We have assembled a strong STARZ PLAY Arabia management team with local expertise that is ready to tap into the significant growth potential in these markets.”

About Starz
Starz (NASDAQ: STRZA, STRZB) is a leading integrated global media and entertainment company with operating units that provide premium subscription video programming on domestic U.S. pay television channels (Starz Networks), global content distribution (Starz Distribution) and animated television and movie production (Starz Animation), www.starz.com<http://www.starz.com>.

Starz Networks is a leading provider of premium subscription video programming through the flagship STARZ® and ENCORE® pay TV networks which showcase premium original programming and movies to U.S. multichannel video distributors, including cable operators, satellite television providers, and telecommunications companies.  As of
December 31, 2014, STARZ and ENCORE serve a combined 57.3 million subscribers, including 23.3 million at STARZ, and 34.0 million at ENCORE, making them the largest pair of premium flagship channels in the U.S.  STARZ® and ENCORE®, along with Starz Networks’ third network MOVIEPLEX®, air more than 1,000 movies monthly across 17 linear networks, complemented by On Demand and authenticated online offerings through STARZ PLAY, ENCORE PLAY, and MOVIEPLEX PLAY. Starz Distribution develops, produces and acquires entertainment content, distributing it to consumers globally on DVD, digital formats and traditional television.  Starz Distribution’s home video, digital media and worldwide distribution business units distribute original programming content produced by Starz, as well as entertainment content for itself and third parties.  Starz Animation produces animated TV and movie content for studios, networks, distributors and audiences worldwide.

About Parsifal International

Parsifal International is a company specializing in New Media throughout Europe. Privately held by Peter Ekelund, Parsifal International has successfully pioneered new multi-platform, multi-device offerings. URHOtv, a subsidiary of Parsifal, has become the leading sports TV service in Finland with a unique offering covering linear pay TV, web TV and mobile. Peter Ekelund has held several prominent positions in the European Pay TV Industry during the past 20 years.

Posted by:Steve Baron

VP/Digital for TV station ownership group; Dad to young twins, runner, skier & spend a lot of times in airplanes.

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