Starz Play Arabia Streaming Service Eyes Expansion, Gets $125M Funding Round

THR 100 List 2017 - Chris Albrecht  - Getty -H 2017
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Since launching in 2015, the streaming service has reached more than 700,000 paying subscribers, the Lionsgate company said Tuesday.

Premium TV service Starz, owned by Lionsgate, is eyeing an expansion of its video streaming service Starz Play Arabia beyond the Middle East and North Africa.

The move comes as Starz said Tuesday it has secured $125 million in funding from new and existing investors, including investment firms SEQ Capital Partners and Delta Partners. Starz Play is the company's first Starz-branded streaming service outside the U.S. market and until now has operated in the Middle East.

Since launching in 2015, Starz Play has reached more than 700,000 paying subscribers, according to the company.

"Starz and our partners SSGA and SEQ Capital Partners continue to evaluate future opportunities to expand the service in new territories outside of the Middle East/North Africa region," Starz CEO Chris Albrecht said in a statement.

Streaming-only services Netflix and Amazon both have been taking their services around the globe. Starz evolved beyond traditional pay TV to go over-the-top with Starz Play in the Middle East rather than in the U.S. market.

The U.S. company has increased its direct-to-consumer streaming offerings to more than 6,000 hours of TV series and movies, available in 19 countries. That expansion gathered pace after Starz's $4.4 billion sale to Lionsgate last year to create a global content powerhouse.

Starz Play features popular TV series like Power, Taboo, Vikings and Ash vs. Evil Dead. The latest funding round is expected to give the streaming service more spending power to woo the major studios and international TV producers for new content.