Like Don Draper once said in regards to changing the name of a business, “if you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.”
Starz is doing exactly that; the pay network company announced today that they will be rebranding the channel entirely as well as some of the channels under the parent’s wing, Variety reports. Encore, a subsidiary of Starz, will for instance become “Starz Encore,” which will finalize the move of Encore and all of the miniature channels under its wing to the mother-ship. This means that the flagship network now contains fourteen subsidiary channels through which they plan to air older seasons of Starz shows, as well as classic movies the company already owns.
Starz itself will not escape the rebranding process either. The company presented a new logo and tagline today, “Starz: Obsessable,” in the hopes that they will be able to highlight the importance of fan engagement. Whereas Starz was once the platform upon which older movies and programming the channel was able to snatch up played, it has recently been attempting to go the way of HBO and Netflix–that is, signing on more original content rather than simply acting as a ground for others’ work to be viewed.
The Starz Original Series Outlander, for example, is a leader in this move towards the unique content model. Now in the midst of its second season, the time travel historical show drew 1.04 million per episode as well as overly positive reviews among critics. Outlander, which stars Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe, also snagged itself a People’s Choice Award for Sci-Fi TV in its premiere year as well as a Critic’s Choice Award for Most Exciting New Series; in other words, the show is a stable soldier in the programming battalion Starz hopes to build.
Outlander, of course, is just the beginning of it all. The fandom-powered Ash v. Evil Dead has also proved itself as a valuable asset to Starz’s growing collection, and in the coming year, the network will add American Gods to the mix, a show based on the popular novel by Neil Gaiman. Given Gaiman’s already flourished fan-base, it is likely that the show will follow suit.
Starz’s fan-centered plans are written all over their recent movie purchases as well. The network is affixing Star Wars: the Force Awakens and Avengers: Age of Ultron to their folds, and the Disney duo are arguably the most fan-powered films of today.
The plan to accentuate what fans want springs from the mind of Jeffrey Hirsch, Starz global marketing and product planning president, who was brought in by Starz in July to get the network back into the game. Since Hirsch’s induction, Starz has skated past Showtime as the second most-subscribed-to pay cabler with 23.6 million to date.
The image makeover effort is also the chance for Starz to reshape their audience as well. The network claims that they will continue to aim their programming towards the less-represented communities, like Outlander does for women, as well as shows and movies for the African-American community and possibly more.