Starz Play secures funding from SEQ and Delta partners
STARZ Play, the on-demand video streaming service available in 19 countries across the MENA region, yesterday announced a new multi-million dollar funding investment. This investment is led by existing investors including SEQ Capital Partners and new investors including Delta Partners Capital, an emerging market centric advisory and investment platform for the telecoms, media and digital space.
STARZ Play, which commenced operations just 18 months ago, welcomed more than 17 million site visitors in October 2016 with its portfolio of movies and TV series including Power, Black Sails and Ash vs Evil Dead from original investor, Starz. The service has grown exponentially, achieving double digit month-on-month revenue and subscriber growth since launch. The service can be accessed in 19 countries across the MENA region and the investment will be used to finance STARZ Play’s continued expansion of its services and partnerships. The funding will also allow further content acquisition, allowing STARZ Play to license additional titles to sit alongside its popular series, which include Showtime’s Billions and Ray Donovan together with award winning titles such as Vikings, Grey’s Anatomy, Top Gear, Quantico and The Walking Dead.
Maaz Sheikh, CEO of STARZ Play, commented: “Strategic partnerships with leading studios, major telecom groups and device manufacturers have proven our long term business model. We now enjoy a six-figure subscriber base of customers in MENA who enjoy the affordable, ondemand experience our service provides. We’ve also made subscribing to STARZ Play easier and even better value than ever by introducing mobile phone bills as a payment option and creating attractive offers through telecom service providers.
“This funding demonstrates the continued confidence our current investors have in STARZ Play. We’ve raised the bar for subscription video on demand services in this region and these new funds will enable us to further enhance our content and technology offering,” Maaz continued.
Kaj-Erik Relander, Partner at SEQ, said: “The SVOD industry is evolving rapidly and companies are competing aggressively to meet their customers’ requirements and demands. STARZ Play has done an extremely impressive job of providing a convenient viewing experience for SVOD users in the MENA region. We are proud to be an investor in such an ambitious and fast growing company and we intend to equip this business to maintain its leading industry position.”
Kai-Uwe Ricke, Chairman of Delta Partners Group, said: “STARZ Play has demonstrated its unique capability to adapt the traditional SVOD business model to the specifics of emerging markets. We are very excited to become part of STARZ Play’s journey and we intend to leverage the expertise and network of Delta Partners Group to help the management in forging deeper and more successful win-win partnerships with telecom operators in MENA and beyond.”
John Penney, Chairman of the Board of STARZ Play Arabia and Chief Strategy Officer of Starz, added: “Starz has been very pleased with the progress shown by STARZ Play and its investment in the venture. Maaz and his team have established a great foundation for the business to grow throughout the region. We are delighted to see additional investment come in from smart partners and view this as an endorsement of the vision we had when establishing the business, and the positive outlook we see going forward for the MENA marketplace.”
STARZ Play features more than 5,000 hours of the best Hollywood movies, TV shows, documentaries, children’s entertainment and same-day-as-the-US series, all streamed in HD or 4K. The service also contains 1,200 hours of dedicated Arabic content while French speakers can enjoy more than 2,200 hours of movies and series dubbed into French. New content is added all the time and the service is currently streaming exclusive day-and-date series.
Maaz Sheikh, CEO of STARZ Play