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Report on Business Canadian streaming platform Crave to add Starz brand in beefed-up service bundle

Canadian streaming platform Crave is bulking up its offerings next month with the addition of popular U.S. TV brand Starz.

The move will introduce a wider selection of TV shows and movies to the Crave service, but it comes at a higher price for subscribers.

Existing subscribers who want to unlock Starz will have to pay an extra $5.99 per month on top of their current package.

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With the Starz package, they’ll have access to new seasons of programs including “Vida” and “Counterpart,” as well as a selection of older TV programs and films.

Changes to the platform come as streaming companies including Netflix and Amazon jostle for premium content in an increasingly crowded marketplace. Netflix recently dealt its biggest price hike yet to Canadian subscribers, saying the higher monthly bill would be invested in new series and films.

Crave is following a tiered model that’s closer to the structure of traditional cable packages, which charge higher fees for access to more TV channels.

The Bell Media-owned platform already offers subscribers two tiers to choose from.

A basic plan includes library HBO and Showtime content for $9.99 each month, while a premium plan boosts that selection with new HBO programming and fresh Hollywood movies for an additional $9.99.

A Bell Media spokeswoman said past seasons of Starz Originals will remain available on Crave while new seasons of the channel’s programming will only be available to Starz subscribers.

Alongside the changes to Crave’s streaming platform, Bell Media also plans to rebrand its existing Encore TV channels, which host mostly older Hollywood fare, with the Starz logo and programming on March 1. The company said the Starz package will be introduced on the Crave platform at around the same time.

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