Comcast removes Starz channels from top-tier packages

Comcast Corporation has made good on a promise to remove the Starz multiplex of channels from its top tier packages.

This week, the cable giant announced customers who wanted access to Starz programming would have to pay between $5 a month and $9 a month for access to Starz movies and shows on linear channels and on-demand. That price includes on-demand access to movies and shows from Encore, a sister-network of Starz.

Comcast says customers can order the channel by calling a customer service representative or updating their programming package through the web. Customers who use Comcast’s Xfinity X1 platform are also able to order the channel through their voice remotes.

Related: Comcast replaces Starz with Epix, could drop channel completely

For years, Comcast has included Starz in several of its higher-cost packages alongside niche sports, movie and general entertainment channels. The move helped boost subscription numbers for Starz because Comcast was essentially including the multiplex of channels as part of a customer’s service.

Starz is offered on other cable and satellite systems as a premium standalone offering similar to AT&T’s HBO or ViacomCBS’ Showtime. The company also offers on-demand access to movies and TV shows as a standalone service through the Starz app and as a premium Amazon Prime Video channel at a cost of around $10 a month.

For the first time, Comcast is including Encore channels when customers sign up for Starz, though five Starz-branded channels are no longer offered through the cable provider. MoviePlex, a sister-network to Starz, continues to be offered as a standalone option.

Comcast said its decision to charge customers for Starz as a separate service was based on programming costs. The cable company has since promoted Epix as an alternative to Starz.

Starz and Encore are owned by Lionsgate. Epix is owned by Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer Studios.