Starz CEO: Why I don't regret losing Disney
Starz CEO Chris Albrecht said Wednesday he doesn't regret losing out on an exclusive streaming deal with Disney to Netflix last year because a renewed focus on original content at his premium channel will make up for it.
"If you look at what everyone is building their businesses around — whether it's the basic-tier services, whether it's the premium services, or whether it's Netflix—the thing that everyone is talking about is the originals," Albrecht told CNBC on Wednesday during an interview on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street."
Albrecht, who oversaw the production of iconic series at HBO while he was CEO there, said he plans to introduce 50 hours of original programming next year, including several new shows such as "Black Sails" and "Power." But whether they can make up for the loss of Disney properties remains to be seen, since Starz is far from the only channel banking on original programming.
(Read more: Starz 3Q net income falls 7% on higher costs)
Last week, Disney announced it would produce four new shows and one mini-series set within their Marvel universe — part of their successful Avengers' franchise — for Netflix, scheduled for 2015.
"I certainly don't regret it," Albrecht told CNBC. "We let the deal go because we knew that in 2017 originals are going to be even more important than they've become."
Net income fell by 7 percent during the most recent third quarter, but the number of subscribers jumped to 22 million—a 6-percent year-over-year increase—and subscriptions to Encore, another Starz network, rose by 2 percent to 35 million. The earnings slightly underwhelmed analysts when the company announced them earlier this month.
Albrecht became the CEO of Starz in January 2010. Before that, Albrecht was chairman and CEO of HBO, where he was credited with transforming the cable channel into an original programming powerhouse, overseeing the production of acclaimed series such as the "The Sopranos" and "Sex and the City."
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