Starzplay international streaming service rebrands as Lionsgate+

Starzplay, the Lionsgate-owned international Starz streaming service, is getting a new name. Starting Thursday, the SVOD is rebranding to Lionsgate+ in 35 countries.

The name change coincides with a refreshed logo and graphics package – with new design elements rolling out in the U.S. and most of Starz’s 63 market footprint. In the U.S. and Canada, the Lionsgate-owned streaming service will get an updated look but retain the Starz brand name. Brand names for Starzplay Arabia, as well as South and Southeast Asia’s Lionsgate Play will also be unchanged.

The new Lionsgate+ brand will launch in 16 in Europe, 17 countries in Latin America, as well as in Australia and Japan.

Part of the impetus for the Starzplay name change is to help differentiate the service in an international market that’s growing more crowded, where the name Lionsgate has stronger brand recognition, according to Starz President and CEO Jeffrey Hirsch.

“We recognized the potential of the global OTT market early, and over the last few years we have built an incredible global streaming service, which has become a destination for audiences seeking premium, provocative programming," said Hirsch in a statement. "Operating under LIONSGATE+ internationally brings a distinct and differentiated identity in an increasingly crowded international marketplace and builds on the brand equity in the Lionsgate name that our extensive research has proven is strong around the world.”

Lionsgate is working to separate Starz and its Lionsgate studio business, a move that Hirsch indicated won’t impact the Lionsgate+ rollout.

“Even with the separation of STARZ and the Lionsgate studio business, the Lionsgate brand will continue to be valuable to the ongoing success of our international platform," he continued.

In an 8-K filed Thursday, Lionsgate noted progress on the separation efforts, saying despite the volatile market environment the company remains on path, and potential for a spin-out of its studio business - rather than Starz - has increased attention.

“As negotiations progress, we have increased our focus on the possibility of spinning our studio business, creating a number of financial and strategic benefits. In that regard, we are continuing productive negotiations with prospective strategic and financial partners on both sides of our business,” Lionsgate wrote in the SEC filing.

In May a Wall Street Journal report surfaced that Roku and private equity firm Apollo Global Management were working together on a joint bid for a stake in Lionsgate’s Starz linear network and streaming channel, but weren’t seeing eye to eye on valuation.

At the end of Lionsgate’s fiscal 2023 first quarter, the company reported adding 1.8 million Starz streaming subscribers, including 700,000 domestically. The Starz domestic OTT subscriber base stood at 12.2 million as of the end of June, with 24.4 million total OTT Starz subscribers. Starzplay Arabia alone accounts for 12.2 million OTT subscribers.

Lionsgate+ (formerly Starzplay) SVOD service debuted in May 2018 and in 2021 launched a lineup of local language productions

Lionsgate+ subscribers get access to premium content that includes original series that premiere globally on the same day as the U.S., such as political thriller “Gaslit.” It also features Spanish-language original series.