Add more brands to the list of those hopping aboard the “+” service bandwagon. To begin, MGM is relaunching its movie-oriented Epix streaming service and TV channel as MGM+ on January 15th, 2023. It will continue Epix’s blend of originals and “curated” movies from various studios. You’ll also find it in the familiar places, including through Prime Video (Amazon owns MGM, after all), other digital services and conventional TV providers.
Simultaneously, Starz has just rebranded its international streaming service Starzplay as Lionsgate+ for 35 of the 63 countries where it operates. North Americans will still see the usual Starz name, while Lionsgate Play (in parts of Asia) and Starzplay Arabia will also remain unchanged. As with MGM+, the actual service will remain intact. This is more about capitalizing on the “valuable” nature of the Lionsgate name and trying to stand out (by tacking on the same “+” as everyone else), according to Starz chief Jeffrey Hirsch.
TechCrunch notes Lionsgate plans to separate Starz from its studio business, and hoped for the spinoff to complete the move this summer. That clearly didn’t happen, but the rebrand is a step in that direction.
In either case, the strategy is familiar. As with CBS All Access’ revival as Paramount+, it’s a bid to make the most of a well-known brand while nodding to a streaming-first reality. Whether or not this helps is another story. Their streaming businesses are relatively small (Starz has 35.8 million subscribers, for example) compared to heavyweights like Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and Netflix. They’re not in trouble, but name changes by themselves aren’t likely to boost demand.
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