Starz (TV network)


Starz (TV network)

Infobox Network
network_name = Starz
network_
slogan = Are you ready?
country = United States
network_type = Cable network (movies)
available = National
owner = Starz Entertainment
(Liberty Media)
launch_date = February 1, 1994
website = [http://www.starz.com/ www.starz.com]

Starz (originally "Starz!", it dropped the exclamation point in 2005) is a US pay TV network which features mainly first-run motion pictures. It was founded in 1994 and it is owned by Starz Entertainment, a division of Liberty Media. Starz and Encore are considered the flagship networks of Starz Entertainment. Encore, its sister network, was launched three years earlier.

About Starz

Starz was launched on February 1, 1994, primarily on TCI cable systems (both it and Liberty Media were controlled by John Malone) before expanding to more than 90% of all American cable systems in the United States by the early 2000s. The channel focused more on recent hit movies than parent network Encore, which originally aired movies made primarily in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s before adding recent fare as well in 1999.

Starz! originally carried the "Encore 8" moniker. Within two years of the channel's launch, Starz began being separated from the Encore brand (though "Encore 8" remained until 2002) and launching multiplex channels: Starz! 2 (launched 1996, renamed Starz! Theater in 1999 and Starz Edge in 2005), BET Movies: Starz! (launched 1997, renamed Black Starz! in 2001 after BET came under common ownership with Showtime, and renamed Starz inBlack in 2005), Starz! Cinema (launched 1999), Starz! Family (launched in 2000), and Starz! Kids (launched 2004).

Starz! Family and Starz! Kids later merged into Starz Kids & Family in 2005, with Starz Comedy taking Starz! Kids's channel space at the same time. An HD feed was started in 2004.

While the majority of Starz's programming consists of movies, Starz does offer original programming pertaining to the behind the camera aspects of movies as well as entertainment news programming some of which also air on Encore.

In the late 1990s, the corporate entity behind Starz and Encore was renamed Encore Media Group (now Starz Entertainment). While sister network Encore is a separate network from Starz, cable systems usually offer the Encore services on a separate digital cable tier from Starz and some cable systems do not sell and bundle Encore separately from Starz.

What is unusual about Starz is despite the fact that it launched three years after Encore, Starz is the flagship network of the Starz Entertainment networks. Starz and Encore are the only successful premium movie channels since The Movie Channel and Cinemax launched in 1979 and 1980, respectively. Starz and Encore succeeded where Home Theater Network and Spotlight failed. Unlike HBO and Showtime, the Starz networks neither have international premium channels nor have international cable channels using the Starz or Encore brands.

Channels

Starz operates six multiplex channels and 4 high definition channels.

*Starz: Hit movies & first-run films from Hollywood blockbusters to indie flicks and international pictures.
*Starz Cinema: Destination for movies with enduring themes, films outside the mainstream cinema, arthouse films.
*Starz Comedy: Light hearted flicks and movies that make you laugh as well as the original series "Stand Up or Shut Up". Took over channel space from Starz! Kids in 2005. This channel is also simulcast in HD.
*Starz Edge: films for the new generation, originally known as Starz! 2 and later Starz! Theater This channel is also simulcast in HD.
*Starz In Black: Dedicated to showcasing the best in black cinema and urban entertainment. Including first-run hits, classical films, Pan African films and original productions. Starz in Black was previously known as BET Movies: Starz! (when it was co-owned with BET), then renamed Black Starz, when BET was opted out of the venture and purchased by Viacom
*Starz Kids & Family: All Family movies, always commercial-free. From action & adventure movies to comedies to family treasures, previously was two services- Starz! Kids & Starz! Family. This channel is also simulcast in HD.
*Starz HDTV: A high definition simulcast of Starz and its related multiplex channels, originally Starz! HD.

Starz also packages the Eastern and Pacific feeds of the main Starz service and all multiplex channels together, allowing viewers a second chance to watch the same movie/program three hours earlier or later depending on their geographic location.

Prior to discontinuing the service on September 30th, 2008, Starz was the only premium channel with an online movie service, Vongo. They are now packaging their VOD service with several providers as StarzPlay. Starz also has a movies-on-demand service Starz on Demand as well as a high-definition service: Starz HD.

The Starz Family of Networks

In 1994, Encore launched the industry's first "themed" network - 7 additional channels that each focused on a specific genre. Initially this was to be six networks, but Encore decided to launch its own competitor to HBO and Showtime, dubbed Starz!, acquiring the rights to first-run Universal Studios films.

Each was given its own number to identify itself as an Encore channel (see Encore article for more information). Starz was the notable exception as it continued to use the "Encore 8" branding in its main idents and movie openers until 2002, even as it was separated entirely from the Encore brand and in the late 1990s, given its own family of networks. One of which included a joint venture with BET called BET Movies: Starz!, which later became Black Starz! after BET was opted out of the venture and was acquired by Viacom in 2001.On March 28, 2005, Starz and Encore both underwent major rebrands. While Encore's rebrand involved a slightly modified logo and the addition of the Encore name to all of its channels, Starz's makeover was more dramatic, opting for a completely redesigned logo and cohesive graphics package across all channels. Several channels formats were changed completely. Starz Theater, a channel that showed four Starz films at fixed times all week, changed its name and format, respectively, to Starz Edge, a movie channel for young men (also known as "The New Generation"). Starz Kids and Starz Family were merged into one channel (Starz Kids and Family) to make room for a new channel called Starz Comedy. And to fit in with the new look, Black Starz was renamed Starz InBlack. Starz Cinema is the only Starz channel other than the main channel to keep its original name.

The Starz Multiplex has been given several names over the years, including "Starz Super Pak." It now has no "official" name. Viewers are simply told they are watching "one of the six Starz channels." An unofficial name for the Starz and Encore networks on DISH Network is the 'Starz Moviepack,' while other affiliates who bundle all of the channels still use the "Starz Super Pak" moniker.

Branding

Just as Encore's is a starburst, Starz's signature logo is a star. In the 1994 launch design, the star was comprised of two stars, one large one and one smaller one a silhouette inside the first star. In the 2005 relaunch, this version of the Starz logo was abandoned for a hand-drawn star shooting upwards.

The original on-air graphics were styled like a movie theater. The main network ID featured seats opening (by themselves), various theater imagery, and even images resembling the Caduceus. The word "STARZ!" in the network logo was styled after 1930's-era movie poster typography. Starz! also heavily included its designation of "encore8" in their graphics, even after the numbering system was abandoned for "an encore network" (a branding Starz! also used, though sparingly) in 1997. The Feature Presentation also heavily used the movie theater themes (here spotlights and film canisters) and the "encore8" name. This look was ultimately abandoned in May 2002.

In 2002, Starz! introduced the InfoBar, a bar that appears on the bottom of the screen during breaks and at the end of movies. Its original purpose was to promote upcoming programming. In the same year, Starz! underwent a major on-air branding revamp, changing from the "theater" look that had been used since the day the network signed on to a look based around natural themes (particularly water). The new look did not carry over to any of the spin-off channels, despite that, Starz! introduced a 7-note fanfare as a musical motif. All of the 2002 branding (excluding the fanfare, which was remixed) was dropped in 2005.

In 2005, Starz began branding its feature film content with a semi-transparent version of logo appearing in the lower-right corner of the screen.

Starz's Tom Southwick explains his channel's apparent identity crisis: "Our research found that a large number of our viewers did not know which channel they were watching when they tuned in, particularly if they were channel surfing and came in after the start of the film. We do not use the bug continuously or on all our films. But we need to get attribution for the films we run, and for which we pay hefty fees to the studios. The situation has grown worse as additional premium channels have launched in the past few years and many viewers subscribe to more than one package."

Showtime and Cinemax have already begun branding its feature film and series content with a semi-transparent version of logo appearing in the lower-right corner of the screen on their networks.

Another part of the relaunch is a revamped InfoBar, whose purpose was expanded to tell viewers they were watching "one of the six Starz channels", promote events on the other networks, (example: the InfoBar on Starz promotes "Stand Up or Shut Up" on Starz Comedy) and display entertainment headlines from The Daily Variety's website. Encore has also adapted a similar version of the InfoBar for its networks.

In a press release from March 31, 2008, it was stated that Starz and its family of networks will have a new image campaign that will launch in April 2008. So far, only Starz's look has been released.

Movies

Starz is known to air new hit movies and premiering a new movie every Saturday night on Starz Saturday Premiere. Starz and its fellow movie channels have exclusive film output deals with the Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group (including Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Hollywood Pictures, Pixar, and Miramax Films), Sony Pictures Entertainment (including Columbia Pictures [alongside films produced by Revolution Studios] , Sony Pictures Classics, Screen Gems, TriStar), Overture Films (now Starz's in-house production and distribution company), and Warren Miller Films, among other leading distributors.

Original Programming

Starz airs a limited schedule of original programming, which currently include "Head Case" and "Hollywood Residential", two multi-camera comedies which air on Wednesday nights. The network also airs limited film specials and has a partnership with the "Hollywood Reporter" to air a film news show called "Starz: The Hollywood Reporter", and also provides data for news scrolls during interstitials. Starz much fewer 'behind the scenes' programs for newly opening films than HBO and Showtime.

ee also

* Encore
* Prism
* List of DirecTV channels
* List of Dish Network channels

External links

* [http://www.starz.com/ Official Site]
* [http://starz.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=43&item=832/ Press Release for New Logo]
* [http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/CA6597188.html] Crash
* [http://www.starz.com/originals/crash/screeningroom Watch "Crash" online]


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