The decision not to renew its Netflix distribution deal
dinged revenue growth at Starz in the fourth quarter, but subscribers to its
flagship premium channel rose by 400,000 to 21.2 million.
Starz reported revenue of $422.2 million in the quarter,
down 2% from the prior year due mainly to fewer theatrical releases from The
Weinstein Co. and its decision not to renew its Netflix deal, which expired
last February. Adjusted operating income before depreciation and amortization
increased 8% in the period to $101 million, fueled mainly by fewer first run
films, better utilization of its second run movies from Walt Disney Co. and
Sony Pictures, and decreased marketing costs for original shows.
On a conference call with analysts, CEO Chris Albrecht said
Starz plans to fuel its future growth through more original programming, airing
about 36 hours of original shows in 2013, rising to 50 hours in the next
couple of years.