Leading Media Executive to Shepherd Starz's Ongoing Transformation into a Dominant Global Subscription Platform
SANTA MONICA, Calif., Sept. 26, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Reflecting strong recent gains in Starz's programming slate, distribution footprint and subscriber acquisition, global content leader Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF.A, LGF.B) today announced that Jeffrey A. Hirsch has signed a new long-term deal as President and Chief Executive Officer of STARZ.
As CEO, Hirsch will shape the overall business and programming strategy for Starz and oversee the continued evolution and expansion of the STARZ premium subscription platform around the world.
Hirsch joined Starz four years ago, was promoted to COO in 2016 and has been running the network for nearly a year. Under his leadership, Starz increased its overall domestic subscriber base from 23.5 million to 24.7 million last year and continued the rapid growth of one of the industry's most successful domestic OTT businesses. Starz already has more than 4.4 million domestic OTT subscribers with successful launches during the last year on Apple, Hulu, Roku, YouTube TV and an array of other platforms.
Hirsch has shepherded the launch of the STARZ app in the U.S. and orchestrated STARZPLAY's rapid expansion into nearly 50 countries in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa as well as Canada, making STARZ one of the world's leading pure-play subscription platforms. Already ahead of schedule, Starz plans to continue its rapid international growth and, as previously announced, expects to have as many as 15-20 million international subscribers by 2025.
"Jeff continues to lead Starz's transformation into one of the world's premier subscription platforms," said Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer. "He has a clear strategic vision, great understanding of where our business is headed and strong relationships that will all contribute to Starz's continued strong growth and evolution."
"I am excited to have the opportunity to lead Starz into the future alongside Jon and our team," commented Hirsch. "Over the last several years Starz has been on the leading edge of innovation across our industry, transitioning to a digital world with the launch of our App and OTT business and most recently through the expansion of our global footprint. As our evolution continues, our remarkable line-up of premium original series and vast library of content will drive both our domestic and international growth as we look to capture new audiences and subscribers around the world."
Hirsch recently announced that STARZ delivers the highest composition of female viewership in premium cable, and the network continues to build on its success with a focused strategy of developing and producing premium programming that appeals to women and other traditionally under-served African-American, Latinx and LGBTQ audiences. Under his leadership, Starz continues to deliver a deep slate of original hit series including "Power," a top-rated premium pay series for African-American audiences and over 10 million multi-platform views per episode and "Outlander," a perennial ratings favorite among women.
Hirsch also recently greenlit three new series written and/or executive produced by women including a reimagined "Dangerous Liaisons," the third season of "The Girlfriend Experience" and the dark comedy "Shining Vale." The network is also preparing the launch of "Power Book II: Ghost," starring Mary J. Blige in a lead role, the first of several "Power"-inspired series that include a prequel shepherded by "Power" creator and showrunner Courtney A. Kemp and executive producer Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson as Starz continues to expand the "Power" Universe into a year-round viewing experience.
Hirsch has played a key leadership role at Starz since joining the company in July 2015 as President of Global Marketing and Product Development. Since Lionsgate's acquisition of Starz in December 2016, Hirsch has played a lead role in integrating Starz into the Lionsgate family and exploring opportunities for the two companies' combined suite of OTT offerings.
Prior to joining Starz, Hirsch served as Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Residential Services at Time Warner Cable.
Hirsch was recognized in 2012 as the sole recipient of the Vanguard Award for Young Leadership and twice ranked by Forbes for his executive talents and influence in marketing and social media.
He received a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Pennsylvania and a Masters of Business Administration from The Amos Tuck School at Dartmouth College.
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