Epix Gains First Distribution Berth With FiOS


Epix, the joint venture movie service from Paramount, MGM and Lionsgate, has snagged its first affiliate pact, landing a multiplatform rollout with Verizon's FiOS TV.
The deal, terms of which were not disclosed, will place Epix on FiOS's TV lineup as both a standard- and high-definition channel, via FiOS Internet, as well as through delivery on wireless devices and on the telco's on-demand platform.
The parties have not disclosed a firm launch date, other than to say it will be in early October. Moreover, a press release announcing the agreement indicates that Verizon customers are slated in the weeks ahead to begin receiving on-demand and online access to directors' script notes, outtakes, auditions and other unique extras including trivia and games, which will give consumers access to behind-the-scenes development of the titles. That content should become available in September, according to Epix president Mark Greenberg.

Verizon will give FiOS TV customers access to a preview of Epix through the "on demand" button on their remote control, by choosing "VOD" in the telco's interactive media guide main menu, or by selecting channel 900 -- FiOS TV's VOD channel). FiOS TV customers will be able to access EPIX content online by going to epixhd.com and providing their FiOS TV account information.
Epix's lineup includes Paramount's release of Lucasfilms' Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Marvel's Iron Man, and the studio's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Cloverfield; MGM's Pink Panther 2; and Lionsgate's My Bloody Valentine 3-D, the Saw and the Tyler Perry franchises.

Moreover, the venture will showcase dozens of recent releases from Paramount, Paramount Vantage, MGM, United Artists and Lionsgate, along with thousands of classic films. Epix will also have the rights to all 17 re-mastered James Bond movies as well as Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
Epix will launch into a category where premium services Home Box Office, Starz and Showtime tread heavily with theatricals, as do AMC, FX, TNT and USA, among others, on the basic-cable side.
As such, many have expected Epix, which originally was positioned as a premium service to have difficulty securing significant distribution coming out of the gate.
The service was borne after the three studios could not come to terms in 2008 with Showtime, which wants to increase its investments in original series production.
"Verizon and Epix share a common goal: entertain America anytime, anywhere, making this an ideal partnership," said Greenberg in a statement. "Both brands understand that today's consumers want interaction and access to exclusive content - and the option of doing it all under one roof. Together, we can provide a unique experience that no other brand is delivering. Epix will build upon Verizon's longstanding commitment to leadership in technology and providing subscribers with the most exciting entertainment experience available."
Noted Verizon vice president of content strategy and acquisition Terry Denson: "Epix is a unique brand that we look forward to offering our customers on multiple platforms, with exclusive programming and movie content that isn't available anywhere else.Once again, we're giving our subscribers the content they want, when they want it and where they want it - whether on FiOS TV, FiOS Internet or on a Verizon Wireless mobile device - making Verizon a one-stop destination for consumers' overall video entertainment."