Starz Strikes Russian Licensing Deal for Original Series, Other Content

Issue 17 BKLOT Black Sails Paget - P 2013

Issue 17 BKLOT Black Sails Paget - P 2013

Amedia, which Warner Music owner Len Blavatnik joined as a senior partner in 2005, will offer "The White Queen," "Magic City," the upcoming "Black Sails" and other shows in Russia, the Baltic states and the rest of the region.

LONDON – Starz Worldwide Distribution has struck an exclusive multi-year content licensing and distribution deal with Russian pay TV and subscription VOD service provider Amedia that allows the latter to air current and future Starz original series and other TV and movie content in Russia, Georgia, the Baltic states and countries that are part of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Original series covered by the agreement, which expands on a previous arrangement, include The White Queen, Magic City and pirate drama Black Sails, executive produced by Michael Bay, which has its U.S. premiere on Saturday.

It also includes upcoming drama Power, on which Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson is an executive producer and actor and which centers on a wealthy New York club owner who leads a double life. The deal also covers other Starz originals that will premiere during the lifetime of the agreement.

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The output deal comes as Starz continues to look to monetize its originals and other content internationally. For example, it previously struck a content licensing deal with HBO Nordic to offer its shows in Scandinavia.

Financial terms of the Amedia output deal weren't disclosed. The deal includes such countries as Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Warner Music group owner Len Blavatnik has a role in Amedia, as he joined the firm as a senior partner in 2005.

Amedia plans to air each episode of Black Sails the day after its U.S. premiere.

Other content included in the first year of the multi-year agreement includes VH1 series Hit the Floor, which Starz is distributing internationally, and such TV movies as Paper Heart, Revenge and Stolen Child, as well as documentaries such as Industrial Light & Magic: Creating the Impossible.

Said Gene George, executive vp worldwide distribution for Starz: “Starz original series are truly global in their appeal, as witnessed by several new output agreements."

Denis Gorshkov, vp programming and acquisitions at Amedia, lauded Starz for its "edgy and provocative premium pay TV series," saying: "We are happy to deliver such great content to Russian audiences via our pay and SVOD services."

He added: "An exclusive output deal with Starz -- along with previously concluded output deals with HBO, CBS/Showtime and Fox -- is a logical step to strengthen Amedia as a Russian home of premium TV content from leading international studios."

Amedia, founded in 2002 by producer Alexand?r Akopov, is a production and TV company.

Twitter: @georgszalai