STARZ is set to lose a significant portion of its cable subscribers after Comcast decided to replace 17 Starz channels in its Xfinity TV package with movie channel Epix.
News of the changes, which takes effect Dec. 10, saw shares of Starz’s parent Lionsgate drop early 4% as it could foretell a broader blackout.
Power executive producer and former star 50 Cent (Curtis Jackson) in a tweet expressed his displeasure about the situation:
On Dec. 4, Comcast plans to start the process of rolling out Epix, including live and on-demand content, into all packages with Starz and several non-Starz packages.
On Dec. 10, Comcast plans to remove Starz from all packages. On Dec. 12, Comcast is set to launch three new Epix channels, Epix 2, Epix Hits and Epix Drive-in, which will be included with packages that had previously included Starz.
“This will help us manage programming costs that are passed on to our customers while continuing to make this content available to those who want to watch it.”Comcast
STARZ issued a statement of their own,
Starz has been working diligently to reach a fair market distribution agreement with Comcast Xfinity in order to continue providing our shared customers with access to our acclaimed line-up of premium television content. However, months before our contract deadline and in spite of our best efforts to engage in meaningful discussions, Comcast has publicly stated their intention to drop our networks from all packages and bundles, ignoring industry precedent and demonstrating a total disregard for its customers, communities, suppliers and other stakeholders.STARZ
Epix president Michael Wright also added their own statement saying,
I’m thrilled to welcome this new chapter in Epix’s relationship with Comcast. We have a shared commitment to providing viewers an unmatched experience and are excited for Xfinity TV customers to experience Epix’s lineup of new original series and great movies.