[01/03/11 - 09:03 PM]
Starz Digital Media Preps for Return of "Spartacus" with New Facebook Social Game, Multimedia iPad Script App
The Beta for the social game will be opened up on January 6 to the first 10,000 "Spartacus" fans who register on Facebook.

[via press release from Starz]

Starz Digital Media Preps for Return of "Spartacus" with New Facebook Social Game, Multimedia iPad Script App

Prepare to Fight for Glory in the Starz 'Spartacus: Gods of the Arena' Facebook Social Media Game, Limited Beta Open to Public January 6

Multimedia iPad Script App Offers Individual 'Spartacus: Blood and Sand' and 'Spartacus: Gods of the Arena' Episodes with Video and Exclusive Commentaries, Launches in Starz iTunes Store January 17

ENGLEWOOD, Colo., Jan. 4, 2011 -- Starz Digital Media, the digital and on-demand licensing arm of Starz, announced today the upcoming launches of its first social media game, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, and iPad multimedia script app for the "Spartacus" Starz original series.

The Spartacus: Gods of the Arena social media game is free to play and brings players into a world of fame, fortune, glory and (of course) blood, all via a Facebook social gaming experience. The Beta for the social game will be opened up on January 6 to the first 10,000 "Spartacus" fans who register on Facebook (www.facebook.com/spartacus.starz).

A full public launch of the Spartacus: Gods of the Arena social media game is planned for January 20, prior to the exclusive debut of "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena" on Starz, January 21 at 10pm et/pt.

Starz Digital Media has partnered with social media gaming publisher 6waves to launch the Spartacus: Gods of the Arena social game. With more than 75 million monthly active users, 6waves is one of the largest social gaming publishers worldwide. Its published games include Mall World, Kingdoms of Camelot and Ravenwood Fair.

"Given its powerful characters and larger-than-life storylines, few television properties have as much potential for innovative social game play as does 'Spartacus,'" said Marc DeBevoise, senior vice president, digital media, business development and strategy for Starz Media. "We are excited to make our social media gaming debut and be one of the early networks to bring a branded TV property to the social gaming universe."

"Starz designed the Spartacus: Gods of the Arena game for current and prospective 'Spartacus' fans and expect a great response," DeBevoise said.

"We are very pleased that gaming publisher 6waves, distributor of many popular social games shares our enthusiasm for the project and has agreed to help launch the property. There is tremendous anticipation for the return of the 'Spartacus' series this January, and we believe gamers and fans alike will seek to immerse themselves in the unique social gaming concept and try to become the next Batiatus."

"Spartacus" iPad Script App

Leveraging its success with the first-of-its-kind multimedia iPad app for the original event series, "The Pillars of the Earth," Starz Digital Media announced plans for a groundbreaking iPad script application for its "Spartacus" franchise.

Scheduled to be launched January 17 in the iTunes Starz storefront (www.itunes.com/starz), the "Spartacus" iPad script app provides a robust viewing experience with electronic screenplays from the Starz original series augmented by exclusive multimedia video segments, director's notes, cast photos, historical background information, and more.

The "Spartacus" iPad script application is a free download for iPad users, with the first episode of "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" ("The Red Serpent") included as part of the app download. Additional "Spartacus" multimedia iPad episode scripts will be available for individual purchase for $0.99 each, with the entire 13-part "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" series of multimedia iPad scripts available for $4.99.

The first iPad electronic script for "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena" ("Past Transgressions") will be pushed out as a free update to "Spartacus" iPad script app users on January 22. Each additional multimedia episode script from the six-part series will be available individually for $0.99 the day after debuting on Starz. The entire six-part "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena" multimedia series script set will be available for $2.99. Beginning January 22, iPad script app downloads will include both of the multimedia iPad screenplays from the first episode of each "Spartacus" series preinstalled with the app download.

"Building on our success with the iPad to complement and promote our original series was a logical progression after our successful 'Pillars' app earlier this year,'" said DeBevoise. "This application will be a true must-have for 'Spartacus' fans with collectors loving the scripts from the series and the seamless integration of the stunning video imagery and enlightening historical background information."

More on Spartacus: Gods of the Arena Facebook Social Media Game

The Facebook-based Spartacus: Gods of the Arena social game is free to play and allows you to run your own Ludus (gladiator school) in the role of Lanista (manager of gladiators). Assemble and train your team of gladiators to be fighting champions. Your ultimate goal is to achieve honor and glory through your fighters battling in the top arenas of the Roman Empire.

As with the Spartacus series on Starz, the Spartacus: Gods of the Arena social media game is more than just battles. There are elements of social manipulation and persuasion woven into the game. Players can earn "influence" points with experience and bribe politicians or poison gladiators to influence the outcome of a fight.

Gladiators are available for purchase on the Facebook Spartacus: Gods of the Arena social game with the currency of the day: denarii. To accelerate your progress in the game, purchase and use Facebook credits to speed your fighters' training or purchase premium weapons or additional gladiators.

As with other successful social media games on Facebook, there will be several ways to recruit friends and assist each other with a rise to glory. For example, a player can visit a friend's Ludus and assist in the training of the friend's gladiators.

Special events and game content tied to the six-episode airing of the "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena" prequel on Starz will be rolled out every week during the series' run.

Starz Digital Media's Spartacus: Gods of the Arena social media game was co-developed and co-published with Large Animal Games and is the latest digital extension of a Starz original series. Starz Digital Media, the digital and on-demand distribution arm of Starz, has produced several innovative games and apps based on Starz Originals for PCs, iPhones, iPads and other devices.

About Spartacus: Gods of the Arena

"Spartacus: Gods of the Arena," the highly anticipated prequel to Starz' hit series "Spartacus: Blood and Sand," will debut on Friday, January 21 at 10pm et/pt with Starz.com and select cable, satellite, and Telco affiliates offering free previews of select episodes from "Spartacus" on-demand and online beginning January 22.

The six-part series centers around Gannicus, the charismatic gladiator destined, perhaps, to become Champion of Capua, played by Australian actor Dustin Clare, and his master, Quintus Batiatus, played again by John Hannah, itching for the chance to rise in status in the Roman outpost town.

On the heels of the success of "Spartacus: Blood and Sand," which was described by TV Guide as, "visually dazzling and complex," the prequel will feature returning cast members Lucy Lawless (Batiatus' equally ambitious wife Lucretia), Peter Mensah (Oenomaus), before he becomes the gladiator trainer Doctore, and Manu Bennett (Crixus), in addition to Hannah.

Additional new cast members joining Clare include Jaime Murray ("Dexter," "Valentine") as Capua's sexy social climber Gaia and Marisa Ramirez ("General Hospital," "The Young and the Restless") as Melitta, a beautiful slave who must face the ultimate decision of the heart. Jeffrey Thomas ("Shark in the Park," "Mercy Peak") plays Batiatus' father Titus, the traditional and cautious Lanista, head of the Ludus.

Produced by Rob Tapert, Sam Raimi, Joshua Donen and Steven S. DeKnight, "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" was the highest rated show for the 18-49 demographic among all cable networks for 12 of the 13 Fridays on which it aired based on coverage rating. Total viewers for the series doubled from the premiere episode to the season finale.*

The production team remains intact for the six-part prequel.

The official "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena" trailer, and behind the scenes videos are available at www.starz.com/spartacus. Follow "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena" on Twitter: @spartacus_starz and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/spartacus.starz.

About Starz Digital Media

Starz Digital Media, an operating division of Starz Media, LLC, is responsible for all digital and on-demand distribution of content from Anchor Bay Entertainment, Starz Originals from Starz Entertainment, Manga Entertainment, and other select entertainment providers. Through a range of distribution and marketing partnerships with multichannel video providers, Internet distributors and wireless operators worldwide, Starz Digital Media makes its content available under numerous business models including download-to-own/electronic sell-through, video-on-demand, pay-per-view, subscription video-on-demand and ad-supported streaming. The division also programs and supports numerous ad-supported broadband channels and develops games, applications and other related content from many of its properties for distribution worldwide.

About Starz Entertainment

Starz Entertainment, LLC, is a premium movie and original programming entertainment service provider operating in the United States. The company offers 16 premium channels including the flagship Starz(R) and Encore(R) brands with approximately 17.4 million and 32 million subscribers respectively. Starz Entertainment airs in total more than 1,000 movies and original series every month across its pay TV channels. Starz Entertainment is recognized as a pay TV leader in providing HD, On Demand, HD On Demand and online advanced services for its Starz, Encore and MoviePlex brands. Starz Entertainment (www.starz.com) is an operating unit of Starz, LLC, which is a controlled subsidiary of Liberty Media Corporation and is attributed to the Liberty Starz tracking stock group (Nasdaq: LSTZA).

*Source: Nielsen Live + SD Coverage Ratings for A18-49 each Friday between 1/22/10 - 4/10/10 among all basic and premium cable channels.

  [january 2011]  


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