Starz Entertainment Group Names New President/CEO

Nov 29, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Liberty Media on Monday named Robert Clasen as president and CEO of Starz Entertainment Group, rewarding Mr. Clasen for his role in turning around the premium cable channel.

Mr. Clasen, 60, replaces Mark Bauman, who has served as interim CEO since June, when Chairman and CEO John Sie announced his retirement. Mr. Bauman will retire from Starz.

In giving Mr. Clasen the top job, Liberty President and CEO Robert Bennett cited Mr. Clasen’s ability to strike new affiliate agreements, grow subscribers and launch several subscription-based video-on-demand services.

“Bob Clasen has proven to be an extraordinarily effective leader for SEG,” Mr. Bennett said in a statement.

Indeed, in the year since Mr. Clasen joined Starz, the 30-year cable veteran has helped SEG increase the number of subscribers to its flagship channel Starz! by 1.3 million, inked long-term carriage agreements with seven of the largest distribution companies, introduced SVOD service to millions of subscribers and launched the first premium subscription Internet-based VOD service.

The improvements mark a switch from as recently as March, when Liberty Chairman John Malone publicly mused about the long-term viability of SEG, which was stumbling amid higher programming costs and booking less revenue after Comcast renegotiated carriage agreements Starz had with former AT&T Broadband systems now owned by Comcast.