STARZ PLAY Arabia raises $125 million in funding

Tuesday, July 11th, 2017

STARZ PLAY, the fastest growing on-demand video streaming service in the MENA region, today announced that the service has raised a total of US$125 million since inception, including new 2017 commitments from leading global industry investors Starz, a Lionsgate company (NYSE: LGF.A, LGF.B), State Street Global Advisors (SSGA), in its capacity as an advisor and manager of private equity, and media and technology investment firms SEQ Capital Partners and Delta Partners.

The new investment funds will go towards enhancing STARZ PLAY’s superior customer experience, acquiring new programming, and strengthening its position as the region’s leading digital video platform. Since launching in 2015, STARZ PLAY has amassed more than 700,000 paying subscribers.

Maaz Sheikh, CEO of STARZ PLAY, commented: “We appreciate the continued support of the strategic investors to the STARZ PLAY family. In recent months, STARZ PLAY has introduced several service enhancements, including a download function for offline viewing, expanded telecom partnerships in North Africa, and expanded content partnerships to all major Hollywood studios. At the same time, our ability to offer localised content that caters to the GCC and North Africa market makes us truly unique in the region.”

Chris Albrecht, Starz President and CEO, added: “Starz is proud to extend its support through further investment in the STARZ PLAY service and management team. As the first STARZ-branded service outside of the US, the success of STARZ PLAY in the MENA region highlights the tremendous growth potential we see for on-demand video streaming services in this competitive market. As a result, Starz and our partners SSGA and SEQ Capital Partners continue to evaluate future opportunities to expand the service in new territories outside of the MENA region.”

Anandh Hari, managing director of private equity SSGA, continued: “As STARZ PLAY closes in on the milestone paying viewer figure of three quarters of a million regional viewers, our strategic investment continues to reap dividends. We look forward to prolonged growth across the MENA region.”

In May 2017, STARZ PLAY reported a total of 95 million viewing sessions across the MENA region, making it the 11th most visited website in Saudi Arabia and 25th in the UAE, according to SimilarWeb May 2017 data. As of May 2017, the STARZ PLAY Mobile App had been downloaded on more than 1.6 million devices.

STARZ PLAY is the only video streaming service that provides convenient sign-up and payment options through mobile devices, a feature that is now available in 12 countries with 14 leading mobile carriers. The service is available on a range of devices including mobiles, PCs, tablets, Smart TVs and gaming consoles. Designed to enhance the overall experience, STARZ PLAY has recently added a temporary “download” function for customers on-the-go. The function allows users to save their favorite boxsets and movies to personal devices for easy offline viewing. Downloaded content can be stored on the device for up to 30 days.

STARZ PLAY streams more than 6,500 hours of blockbuster Hollywood movies, documentaries, children’s entertainment and ‘same-day-as-the-US’ series – plus 1,200 hours of Arabic shows consisting of Khaleeji, Egyptian and Levant content. At present, it exclusively offers some of the most popular Hollywood TV series such as Power, Taboo, Vikings, Ash Vs. Evil Dead and Billions, as well as popular current shows including The Flash, The Walking Dead and Mr. Robot. Classic sitcoms such as Friends are also available. The platform features English, Arabic and French audio options and user interfaces, plus one-click Arabic subtitling.