By Kay Marham
New funding will be used to enhance the firm’s customer experience, acquire new programmes and strengthen its market position
MENA on-demand video streaming service Starz Play has now reached a funding total of $125 million since inception, with new investments this year from leading global industry investors Starz, a Lionsgate company; State Street Global Advisors (SSGA); and media and technology investment firms SEQ Capital Partners and Delta Partners
The new funding will be used to enhance the firm’s customer experience, acquire new programmes and strengthen its market position.
Since its launch in 2015, Starz Play has amassed more than 700,000 paying subscribers.
Maaz Sheikh, CEO of Starz Play, commented: “We appreciate the continued support of the strategic investors to the Starz Play family. In recent months, Starz Play has introduced several service enhancements, including a download function for offline viewing, expanded telecom partnerships in North Africa and expanded content partnerships with all of the major Hollywood studios. At the same time, our ability to offer localised content that caters to the GCC and North Africa market makes us truly unique in the region."
Chris Albrecht, Starz President and CEO, added: “Starz is proud to extend its support through further investment in the Starz Play service and management team. As the first Starz-branded service outside of the US, the success of Starz Play in the MENA region highlights the tremendous growth potential we see for on-demand video streaming services in this competitive market.”
In May 2017, STARZ PLAY reported a total of 95 million viewing sessions across the MENA region, making it the 11th most visited website in Saudi Arabia and 25th in the UAE, according to SimilarWeb May 2017 data. As of May 2017, the STARZ PLAY Mobile App had been downloaded on more than 1.6 million devices.
Starz Play is the only video streaming service that provides sign-up and payment options through mobile devices, including mobiles, PCs, tablets, Smart TVs and gaming consoles - a feature that is now available in 12 countries with 14 leading mobile carriers. The company has recently added a temporary download function for customers on-the-go, which allows users to save TV shows and movies to personal devices for offline viewing up to 30 days later.