Fans of the historical drama series ‘Vikings’ in the region will be able to watch the show at the same time as it airs in the US, exclusively on streaming service Starz Play, starting this week.
Starz Play, a subscription-based video-on-demand platform, premiered season 5B of ‘Vikings’ — starting with episode 11 of season five — on November 29 in the UAE. Audiences can catch new episodes every Thursday at 6am in the UAE, coinciding with the American premiere timings (Wednesday at 9pm ET on the History Channel) and can catch up on previous episodes at any time.
According to Maaz Shaikh, the CEO and co-founder of Starz Play, ‘Vikings’ is their No 1 performing show in the region.
It joins two other series on the platform which also simulcast with the US: comedy series ‘Big Bang Theory’, available on Starz Play within 24 hours of airing, and crime-drama ‘Ray Donovan’, which is immediately available at the same date and time.
Starz Play had 700,000 paying subscribers last year and will announce updated numbers soon, according to Sheikh. Viewers are almost 80 per cent Arab, with 75 per cent below the age of 34. Though they initially catered more to male viewers, they have now achieved a better balance.
“You’d be surprised how many women watch ‘Vikings’,” said Sheikh, citing the lead character as a “female king.”
Starz Play will add 50 new series in 2019, but have no plans to create original local productions at this time.