Starz plans to launch a new logo and tagline, and will bring all Encore channels under it’s umbrella with the new name Starz Encore, as part of a rebranding strategy.
The major transformation, which kicks off April 5, is meant to align the channels with a unified on-demand and online approach that aims to strengthen marketing and sell-in opportunities for the network’s distributors.
“Harnessing the power and resonance of the Starz flagship brand and bringing the expansive movie and television series offerings under one brand is good for the consumer and the distributor alike,” Jeffrey Hirsch, Starz President of Global Marketing and Product Planning, said in a statement.
With 23.6 million subscribers, the network has also surpassed Showtime as the number two pay cabler, second to HBO, and is following in their footsteps with a focus on digital content. According to Variety, Starz plans to launch a streaming app down the line, and the rebrand was timed to get out ahead of the app rollout.
Starz is also looking to increase subscribers through original programming that targets underserved audiences including women and African Americans, according to Variety, and will get some help from Encore.
Starz Encore will soon have around 32.2 million subscribers as 14 multiplex channels, including Encore Action, Encore Family and Encore Western, take on the Starz name. Starz original series will now be available to Encore subscribers, along with previous seasons of Starz’s original series and classic films.
Although Encore is less watched than Starz, it has about 9 million more subscriber households, Variety reports. The network hopes viewers will tune in to watch rebroadcasted reruns on Encore, get hooked, and subscribe to Starz to watch new seasons.
The move may work.
According to Nielsen data, more than 700,000 households not subscribed to Starz watched Black Sails reruns on Encore, and 2 percent went on to subscribe to Stars to watch season 3, Variety reports.
At the core of the Starz rebranding is the concept of fandom. Starz worked with branding and marketing agency Troika to develop a marketing strategy around the idea that Starz viewers are not casual viewers, but rather passionate fan contingents who engage deeply with shows.
Having said that, the new tagline “Starz: Obsessed” was inspired by Outlander, one of the network’s most popular shows, and it will debut as part of the rebranding just four days before the season two premiere.
“We just kept seeing on social, ‘I’m #obsessed,’ whether it was on the Starz pages or on our show pages,” Starz executive vice president of marketing Alison Hoffman told Variety. “We thought there was something there.”
READ MORE: Variety