Epix (TV channel): Wikis

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Epix
Epix.png
Launched October 30, 2009
Owned by Studio 3 Partners
(Paramount/Viacom, MGM and Lionsgate)
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
720p (HDTV)
Slogan Big on Any Screen
Country United States
Broadcast area Nationwide; currently available only on Verizon FiOS systems (to be available on Cox Communications, Mediacom and Charter Communications systems in the spring of 2010)
Headquarters New York, NY
Sister channel(s) MGM HD
(through Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)
MTV, VH1, CMT
Nickelodeon, Spike, Logo
TV Land, Comedy Central
(through Viacom/MTV Networks)
TV Guide Network
(through Lionsgate)
Website http://www.epixhd.com
Availability
IPTV
Verizon FiOS 395 (SD)
895 (HD)

Epix (pronounced "epics") is an American premium television channel, that is operated by Studio 3 Partners, a joint venture between Viacom (specifically its subdivision Paramount Pictures), MGM and Lionsgate. Viacom handles operational support, including marketing and affiliate services for the service through its MTV Networks division.

Epix does not currently plan on offering themed multiplex services, as the other premium cable channels offer, and will instead operate as a single channel service, relying on offering on-demand streaming and television video-on-demand in order to provide more choices.[1] Epix also offers a companion video on demand service.[2][3] In order to access online on-demand program content, cable subscribers must subscribe to their provider's Internet service.[4]

Contents

Origins

The announcement of the formation of Epix came on April 21, 2008 after negotiations between Paramount Pictures, MGM and Lionsgate Entertainment with Showtime (owned by CBS Corporation) on new film output deals fell through, with the sticking points that led to contract talks breaking down linked to the failure between the studios and Showtime on agreeing to compensation for providing the channel with movies from those studios.

The three studios were some of Showtime's major film suppliers, and Paramount had an output deal with Showtime since 1997, after then-parent Viacom (which also owned Showtime until 2006, when CBS and Viacom split up its assets) purchased Paramount Pictures in 1994. Paramount Pictures' contract with Showtime expired in January 2008, while MGM and Lionsgate's contracts expired at the end of 2008.[5]

On August 28, 2009, Epix launched a free preview to Verizon FiOS subscribers, showing selected films that the channel will offer upon its initial premiere. This included the premium cable debuts of Iron Man, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and Cloverfield. During this preview, Epix added between five to seven movie selections every three days from the libraries of its three major studio backers.

The Epix television service officially launched at 8:00PM/ET on October 30, 2009[6][7][8], on Verizon FiOS IPTV systems, with the website's on-demand film content launching to the public the day before (for a month prior to the channel's launch, only potential providers had access to film content). The first program to air on the channel was the concert special Madonna Sticky & Sweet Tour: Live from Buenos Aires.

Epix also provided those who were Verizon FiOS subscribers and also to non-Verizon FiOS subscribers, special free preview weekends of the online service using online invite codes given on a first come, first served basis to be able to access the website's film content through the end of November 2009[9].

Epix HD

Epix HD is a 720p high definition simulcast of the East Coast feed of the Epix channel. It was launched on October 30, 2009 along with the standard-defintion version of the channel. It is not currently carried nationally yet as is the case with the standard-definition service, but it is carried regionally by Verizon FiOS. The "Epix HD" name is also used by the online on-demand service. Programming content on the Epix television channel, high definition subscription video-on-demand and online services are broadcast in 720p, in comparison to the other premium channels who offer their HD content in 1080i.

Carriage

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Current

On July 28, 2009, it was announced that Epix has signed a carriage deal with Verizon FiOS. Viacom president and CEO Philippe Dauman has promised the announcement of more distribution deals "in the near future." [10] The single channel was available to Verizon FiOS subscribers for free for the channel's debut weekend with a monthly subscription to the channel costing $9.99 per month [11](in comparison, a subscription to multi-channel services such as HBO costs $14.99 a month, while Cinemax, Showtime and Starz each cost $12.99).

Future

On January 9, 2010, it was announced that Cox Communications has reached a carriage deal with Epix. [12] The channel will be available starting in April on their TV service in both standard and high definition formats, as well as on demand and online. [13] Plans call for Cox to add the channel for its digital "movie tier" subscribers and not as an additional premium channel.[14]

On January 14, 2010, Mediacom reached a carriage deal with the channel.[15] It is also slated to be added in April, carried on television, on demand and online.

On February 4, 2010 it was announced that Charter Communications has reached a deal to carry Epix starting in May. It will be carried on television, on demand and online. [16]

Providers not carrying Epix

DirecTV, Comcast, and Cablevision have announced that they will not carry the channel.[17]

Uncertain status

There is no word yet on whether major cable providers Time Warner Cable, Cable One, AT&T U-Verse, US Cable or other cable providers will carry the service. Although Daumann stated there would be additional distribution deals made before and after the launch, Epix was not able to secure any additional deals prior to the October 30, 2009 launch. Dauman said that in regards to cable distribution deals "We've had very productive conversations with many distributors, including some who in the past may have made some public statements. We've announced the Verizon distribution deal, by the time we launch we expect to announce some additional distribution arrangements and then we will continue beyond that." [18]

It has also been reported that Dish Network is close to entering into a carriage agreement with the channel.[19] Once the deal officially closes, the channel is to be available to Dish Network subscribers starting sometime in early 2010,[20] and Dish Network would effectively become the exclusive satellite television carrier of the network, due to DirecTV choosing not to carry the channel.

Original programming

Epix has greenlit its first original series pilot, Tough Trade, a drama from Lionsgate Television to be executive produced by Weeds creator Jenji Kohan. The series is described as a look at three generations of a dysfunctional famous family in country music, and was created by Chris Offutt, novelist and scribe on Lionsgate-produced Weeds. The pilot began filming in Nashville, TN in late summer 2009 for a possible series launch in 2010. The series was developed by Furst Films through a first-look deal with Lionsgate. Brothers Sean Furst and Bryan Furst will executive produce the pilot along with Kohan and Offutt.[21]

Epix might also air a mini-series adaptation of Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged. Actress Charlize Theron has been involved in preliminary talks with Lionsgate and producers Howard and Karen Baldwin to develop and star in the mini-series.[22]

On the November 30, 2009 edition of The Opie & Anthony Show, Lewis Black said he and Eddie Izzard will have the first two stand-up specials on the channel. Black's comedy special Stark Raving Black premiered on the channel on December 5, 2009.

Movie library

Epix currently has exclusive deals with major and smaller independent movie studios. Films featured on the channel include recent releases from Viacom-owned Paramount Pictures (and their subsidiaries Paramount Vantage, MTV Films and Nickelodeon Movies), as well as titles from MGM (and its subsidiary United Artists) and Lionsgate (along with subsidiary Mandate Pictures), including certain titles owned by either of the studios for television/digital distribution only (such as the Carolco and Cannon libraries from Paramount, certain Rodgers and Hammerstein adaptations from MGM, and much of the Revolution Studios library from Lionsgate/Debmar-Mercury).

Prior to its launch, Epix also signed an exclusive first-run agreement with Samuel Goldwyn Films. The channel also signed an exclusive deal to carry 22 feature films from independent film studio Roadside Attractions.[23]

The window between a film's initial release in theatres and its initial screening on Epix is stated to be slightly smaller than on HBO, Showtime and Starz, and will have a longer time of license than the other pay TV networks.[24] Epix's movie schedule is similar to that of the main Encore channel, in that recent film releases are mixed in with older films from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, and recently released films are often followed and/or preceeded by older pre-1999 films in prime time slots.

References

  1. ^ PaidContent.com September 21, 2009 Epix Megaplex: 3,000 Movies Most People Won’t See Online Unless Operators Sign On
  2. ^ New Pay TV Channel Picks Epix
  3. ^ Par, Lionsgate, MGM venture named Epix
  4. ^ http://www.cinematical.com/2009/06/09/epix-to-give-some-of-you-movies-before-they-hit-dvd-for-free/
  5. ^ Broadcasting & Cable April 21, 2008 Showtime’s Film Suppliers Start Up Rival TV Channel - Paramount Pictures, Lionsgate, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios to Launch Premium Pay Channel in Fall 2009
  6. ^ Reuters: EPIX Unveils Powerhouse Launch Weekend Lineup
  7. ^ NewTeeVee: Epix Picks a Launch Date
  8. ^ Hollywood Reporter: Epix sets launch date
  9. ^ http://paidcontent.org/article/419-epix-opens-access-to-consumers-with-a-hitch/
  10. ^ Hollywood Reporter July 28, 2009- Epix lands first carriage deal
  11. ^ Multichannel News October 29, 2009 FiOS TV Prices Epix at $9.99 - Verizon Service Taking Orders For New Movie Service Monday
  12. ^ Viacom's Premium Movie Channel Epix Coming To Cox
  13. ^ Multichannel News January 11, 2010 Epix Gains Multiplatform Carriage On Cox In April - Joint Venture Movie Service, Also Available On FiOS, Scores Second Distribution Deal
  14. ^ EPIX to be distributed by Cox Communications
  15. ^ Business Week January 14, 2010 Mediacom to carry Epix pay TV channel
  16. ^ Multichannel News February 4, 2010 Epix Inks Charter Carriage Contract - MSO Becomes Premium Movie Programmer's Fourth Distribution Partner
  17. ^ DirecTV Will Pass On Epix - Interim CEO Miller Says No Need For Another Movie Channel
  18. ^ Dauman: More Epix Deals to Come
  19. ^ AfterDawn.com December 14, 2009 Cox, Dish to add Epix HD channel in 2010
  20. ^ Zacks.com December 17, 2009 Viacom Speeds Up Epix Distribution
  21. ^ Epix greenlights 'Tough Trade'
  22. ^ 'Atlas' may no longer be shrugging
  23. ^ International Business Times September 2, 2009 Movie channel Epix in deal to carry Roadside movies
  24. ^ http://www.forbes.com/2009/10/29/epix-verizon-cable-business-entertainment-greenberg.html

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