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HDNewser
07-28-2009, 03:06 PM
from The Hollywood Reporter:

Epix lands first carriage deal

FiOS TV in five-year pact; Epix boss discusses originals

By Georg Szalai
July 28, 2009, 08:58 AM ET



NEW YORK - Epix, the premium TV service that is a joint venture between Viacom, Lionsgate and MGM, has reached its first carriage deal with Verizon Communications' FiOS TV.

Viacom president and CEO Philippe Dauman announced the five-year deal in his company's earnings call Tuesday morning, promising more distribution deals "in the near future."

He said the deal gives Verizon a lot of flexibility to offer Epix a la carte and in bundles with its broadband offers. Epix's linear channel will launch in October. At launch, Epix will also have 300 hours of content available via subscription VOD and on its Web site. The two firms also plan to create a mobile Epix offer that they can market to Verizon's 4 million-plus VCast subscribers.

Among the films available at launch are 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," MGM's "Pink Panther 2," and Lionsgate's "My Bloody Valentine 3-D," as well as the "Saw" and the Tyler Perry franchises.

Special features available on-demand and online will be directors' script notes, outtakes, auditions and trivia and games.

"Verizon and Epix share a common goal: entertain America anytime, anywhere, making this an ideal partnership," said Epix president Mark Greenberg. "Both brands understand that today's consumers want interaction and access to exclusive content - and the option of doing it all under one roof."

In a telephone conversation, he told THR that he expects additional distribution announcements before the October launch. An earlier idea of potentially offering Epix exclusively to one company or one type of distributor came off the table amid the recession, he said.

Both sides argued Tuesday they liked the financials of the carriage arrangement. On its blog, Verizon said it likes the blockbuster and other content it gets plus the multi-platform nature of the deal before adding: "Frankly, we also liked the terms of the deal, although those terms are not being disclosed."

Dauman and Greenberg didn't divulge much about the deal's economics, although both protrayed it as a win-win situation. The latter told THR that the arrangement "motivates" Verizon to aim for broad reach. Subscription prices will be set by Verizon.

Analysts on Tuesday repeatedly questioned management of Viacom, which is Epix's lead investor, about the longer-term financial viability of the new channel, and Dauman said he is confident it will break even and do well. According to SNL Kagan, CBS Corp.'s Showtime paid the three Epix studios more than $300 million in 2008. Critics have expressed concern if they can make up such amounts with the new channel, and analysts' flurry of questions Tuesday confirmed that Wall Street is concerned as well.
Asked if Epix is still eyeing to break even within 18 months of launch, Greenberg told THR: "We are fairly confident that we are still on the right trajectory."

Asked about repeated rumblings that the Epix partners could leave the venture, Greenberg said "they are more committed" now to the venture than when it was first announced. "We have (original programming) concepts in development with all of them," he added.

Asked to expand on the original programming plans, Greenberg said first announcements should happen soon. as showrunner for the first half of next year and a couple of other shows for 2010.
The long-rumored "Atlas Shrugged" mini series with Charlize Theron is not greenlit yet, but Greenberg said both sides want to do it as long as the script is right. "We'd be thrilled," he said.

WIth most initial originals eyed for 2010, Epix is planning live events offerings in the music and comedy space this fall, but Greenberg didn't immediately provide specifics.

To promote the service ahead of its launch, Verizon will give FiOS TV customers access to a preview of Epix on-demand and epixhd.com in the coming weeks.

riffjim4069
07-28-2009, 03:08 PM
Cool...just don't know if we'll ever use this service.

enthuzist
08-01-2009, 12:44 PM
Any word on it being an HD channel?

JPL
08-01-2009, 06:45 PM
Any word on it being an HD channel?
Yes, it's an HD channel. They're also going to have internet feeds, and VOD feeds available as well.

JPL
08-17-2009, 07:07 PM
Epix HD VOD is now up and running. I count over 50 movies currently available on demand. Some are older, and some more recent, and it's listed as a free preview.

abisdabis
08-21-2009, 10:15 AM
Any idea how long the free preview will last?

jscott
09-10-2009, 03:01 PM
I like this service, any idea how much it will cost?

Reigster at SatelliteGuys