Thepremium cable network on April 5 will unveil a new logo and tagline as part ofa brandrepositioning, while also bringing sister service Encore, and itsvarious multiplexes, under the flagship Starz brand.
Asthe "Starz: Obsessable" tagline rolls out, the Encore network will berenamed Starz Encore. In turn, Encore's suite of seven multiplex channels will alsoassume the Starz prefix, such as Starz Encore Westerns (US) and Starz Encore Family. Thechannels will also sport new on-air looks and logos.
Moreover,in a programming strategy change, Starz Encore will not only continue toshowcase its library of theatrical and TV offerings, but also become home toencores of previous seasons of Starz's original series.
Starz original series, "Outlander"
Starzplans to bow the second season of its most popular show, "Outlander,"on April 9, and debut its series adaptation of "The GirlfriendExperience" the following day. Both of the shows are being promoted acrossthe company's linear and digital properties, as well as with schedules onvarious paid media outlets.
Thesingle "master" brand approach aims to not only align the 14 services— six from the Starz camp, and eight Encore channels — with a unified look andfeel, but also to enhance the offerings by affording one point of entry forsubscribers both on-air and via on-demand, important considerations in today'sincreasingly fragmented programming environment.
JeffreyHirsch, Starz president of global marketing and product planning, joined thepremium programmer from TimeWarner Cable Inc. in July 2015. In an interview, Hirsch said as hebecame more familiar with the company and its business "the conversationsabout what we wanted to do moved toward a master brand."
Overall,Encore has some 32.2 million subscribers, while Starz counts 23.6 million.
Hirschsaid the change "first and foremost" represents an opportunity tofurther build the networks' subscriber bases with cable, satellite and telcoproviders. "Priority 1A," he said, is to "highlight the networkand its shows."
AlisonHoffman, Starz executive vice president of marketing, told SNL Kagan that onthe social pages for Starz and its different shows users frequently usedhashtags with "obsessed" in them when communicating about what theywere watching.
"Wethought that was a good way to tether that passion across our diverseprogramming and audiences," she said in explaining the decision toincorporate "obsessable" into the tag.
Starzhas worked to build its subscriber base by appealing to different audiences:women with "Outlander"; African-Americans with "Power" and"Survivor's Remorse"; and fanboys with horror-comedy "Ash vs.Evil Dead."
"Overthe past few years we have really made a lot of headway with original seriesand different audiences and fan bases," she said. "We want toemphasize that content and ultimately bring it back to the brand."
Thatstrategy also will manifest as the Encore outlets re-air original programmingfrom Starz. In addition to migrating to the Starz Encore network, the encoresof specific programming like urban drama "Power" and comedy"Survivor's Remorse" will find their way to Starz Encore Black,according to Hirsch.
Similarly,Starz is looking to boost its appeal among Latinos and has a number ofHispanic-oriented projects, including "Havana Quartet," "PourVida" and "Maleficio," in various stages of . After these and otherentries ultimately emerge from that pipeline and originate on Starz, therepeats will live on Starz Encore Espanol, he said.
Infact, repeats of "Black Sails" on Encore earlier this year providedthe impetus for the company's new direction.
Duringa January trial, more than 700,000 households that did not subscribe to Starztuned into reruns of "Black Sails" on Encore, with 2% upgrading toStarz so they could watch the third season of the "Treasure Island"prequel.