In an unexpected turn that’s set to reshape the British streaming scene (again), Lionsgate+, the premium streaming service, is set to shut down its operations in the UK in early 2024.
Lionsgate+, which has been operating in the UK in some form since 2019, is a streaming platform known for hits like Outlander, The Great and Power Book III.
This decision was first hinted at in a memo to staff by Starz CEO Jeffrey Hirsch, which mentioned the closure of Starz’s operations in the UK and Australia.
However, while the memo did not explicitly outline the fate of the Lionsgate+ streaming service in the UK, Cord Busters can now confirm that the service will indeed be exiting the British market early next year.
This move is part of a larger corporate reorganisation, with Starz looking to streamline its operations and potentially sever ties with Lionsgate through a sale.
The Memo That Signalled The End
The initial whispers of change came in the form of a memo from Starz CEO Jeffrey Hirsch, that was published by Variety on Friday.
Starz, an established name in premium television networks, has been undergoing a significant transformation, as Starz is preparing to stand as a standalone entity, separate from Lionsgate, the entertainment powerhouse that currently owns it (Lionsgate bought Starz for $4.4 billion in 2016).
The memo detailed a “company-wide organisational restructure,” which included the exit from the UK market.
Hirsch’s words painted a picture of a company at a crossroads, facing the challenging task of adapting to a rapidly evolving digital landscape.
The memo praised the company’s transition from a linear-only business model to a more dynamic digital approach, which has kept them profitable in a fiercely competitive market.
However, the memo also carried a sombre tone, acknowledging the impact on employees and the difficulty of the decisions made: According to Variety, Starz is planning to lay off more than 10% of its staff.
What Is Lionsgate+ UK?
Lionsgate+, the premium streaming service from Lionsgate/Starz, is a relatively new player in the UK’s streaming market – at least under its current identity.
It launched in the UK and Ireland in October 2022, following a major rebrand of its previous incarnation, StarzPlay.
The service is a localised streaming-only version of the US premium channel Starz, but the selection of shows in the UK comes from Starz and other international TV platforms.
The name Lionsgate+ is derived from Lionsgate, the entertainment company that owns the service. Formed in 1997, Lionsgate is a producer and distributor of films and TV shows.
The service doesn’t hold a very large library of content when compared to major streaming services like Netflix and Disney+, but it does feature several notable titles in the UK.
These include Outlander, Power Book III, The Great, Station Eleven, and more. The service also adds a collection of blockbuster movies to the platform every month.
Lionsgate+ is available as a standalone streaming service (on the web and on with its own app on mobile), or as an Amazon Prime Video Channel.
The standalone Lionsgate+ app is available for Android and iOS devices. Once the app is downloaded, users can usually get a short free trial, after which they will pay the monthly subscription price of £5.99.
Despite the rebranding and a few notable shows, Lionsgate+ faced an uphill battle in the UK’s competitive streaming market.
The service struggled to gain the same traction as larger platforms, such as Netflix and Amazon’s Prime Video, which dominate the streaming space with their extensive libraries and original content.
While the memo did not explicitly outline the fate of Lionsgate+ in the UK, we can confirm that the service will shut down early next year.
Lionsgate+ has been a fixture on various platforms, including Amazon’s Prime Video and Sky, with a few franchises that have devoted fan bases – such as Outlander and The Great (which was recently cancelled).
Cord Busters understands the company is working closely with its partners to ensure minimal disruption to consumers as it prepares to wind down its services.
Until a specific shutdown date is declared, Lionsgate+ will operate normally, and with monthly subscription billing, customers should have sufficient time to enjoy their final month of service when the time comes.
It’s still unknown at this point what will happen to Lionsgate+’s exclusive franchises – it’s safe to assume some of the more popular ones will end up on competing streaming platforms, but nothing is certain at this point.
What remains clear is that the streaming wars are far from over, and the landscape for digital content consumption will continue to change.
Already some are saying there are too many separate streaming services, all vying for our attention and our money, therefore the industry is likely to continue evolving, with mergers, acquisitions, and partnerships becoming more commonplace.
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