Epix (TV network)
|Launched||October 30, 2009|
|Owned by||Studio 3 Partners
(Paramount/Viacom, MGM and Lionsgate)
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)
|Slogan||We Get Big Movies|
Spanish (via SAP audio track; some films may be broadcast in their native language and subtitled into English)
|Headquarters||New York City, New York|
|Sister channel(s)||MGM HD
MTV, VH1, CMT
Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite, Spike, Logo
TV Land, Comedy Central
(through Viacom/Viacom Media Networks)
|Dish Network||380 EPIX (HD/SD)
381 EPIX2 (HD/SD)
382 EPIX3 (HD/SD)
292 EPIX Drive-In (SD)
|Available on certain U.S. cable systems||Consult your local cable provider for channel availability|
|Verizon FiOS||895 EPIX (HD)
395 EPIX (SD)
896 EPIX2 (HD)
EPIX (pronounced "epics") is an American hybrid premium cable and satellite television network, and subscription video on demand service that is operated by Studio 3 Partners LLC, a joint venture of Viacom (specifically its subdivision Paramount Pictures), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Lions Gate Entertainment. Viacom handles operational support for the channel, including marketing and affiliate services, through its Viacom Media Networks division. The television channel features theatrically released motion pictures, documentaries, concert and comedy specials, and boxing and mixed martial arts matches.
Launched in October 2009, EPIX is the youngest of the major pay cable channels in the United States. As of December 2011, EPIX's programming reaches 9.5 million pay television subscribers in the United States, therefore giving the channel the lowest subscriber tally among the major U.S. pay cable channels (although far behind Showtime's 21.3 million pay subscribers and HBO's 29 million, EPIX is several decades younger than HBO and Showtime). EPIX (as well as its three multiplex channels, depending on the latter's carriage) are sold by pay television providers either as premium services or as part of a la carte digital movie tiers.
Paramount Pictures has been involved in the pay television business since the 1950s. In the 1950s and 1960s, Paramount owned Telemeter, an ambitious but expensive theater television system which used closed circuits (as opposed to broadcast frequencies) over which customers purchased broadcasts by dropping coins into a box. In the early 1980s, Paramount (then owned by Gulf+Western), MCA/Universal Studios, Columbia Pictures and 20th Century Fox partnered with Getty Oil to launch an attempt at a pay service jointly owned by several film studios called Premiere, a cable television service that gave exclusive first-run rights to the studios' new features; however, an antitrust suit by the U.S. Justice Department filed in 1980 made the venture illegal.
Paramount, MGM, and Lions Gate were major film suppliers for established premium channel Showtime: Paramount itself had an output deal with the channel that began in 1997, after Showtime parent Viacom purchased Paramount Pictures in 1994. Paramount's distribution contract with Showtime expired in January 2008, while MGM's and Lions Gate's contracts expired at the end of 2008.
Development and launch
The channel's formation was announced on April 21, 2008, after negotiations between Paramount Pictures, MGM and Lions Gate Entertainment with Showtime to renew existing film output deals broke down, the result of a failure between the studios and Showtime to reach an agreement on compensation for providing the channel with each studio's film content. In December 2008, the three studios – which named their jointly owned holding company for the channel, Studio 3 Partners – selected the name "EPIX" for their premium channel and on-demand service. MTV Networks was tapped to provide operational support for the channel, including marketing and affiliate services. The channel's initial film output involved Paramount films released after 2008, MGM (and subsidiary United Artists) and Lionsgate releases from 2009 onward, as well as content from the individual studios' film libraries. Though EPIX was first announced by Studio 3 Partners as strictly a premium service, it eventually began to seek distribution as a hybrid premium/digital basic channel (similar to the distribution method of Encore) with its programming being broadcast uncut and commercial-free. The channel also reportedly sought a monthly license fee of $1 to $1.50 per subscriber.
On July 28, 2009, EPIX reached its first carriage deal with Verizon FiOS. Three major pay television providers – cable providers Comcast and Cablevision, and satellite provider DirecTV – formally announced in August 2009 (two months prior to EPIX's launch), that they would not carry Epix. DirecTV said regarding its decision not to carry Epix: "We think there are enough [premium channels] out there already, we don't see the value of adding another movie channel."
On August 28, 2009, EPIX offered a free preview to Verizon FiOS subscribers, showing select films that the channel would offer upon its formal debut. This included the premium cable premieres 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. On September 25, 2009, the channel announced plans for an expanded online video-on-demand service, the "EPIX MegaPlex," that began offering a minimum of 3,000 film titles beginning in the summer of 2010, while the basic EPIX online VOD service would have about 200 titles upon its official October 2010 launch. EPIX's online offering includes over 3,000 titles for streaming, available to all subscribers through the network's apps and EPIX.com; as a result, EPIX offers a wider library of movies for streaming than the other premium networks combined. The network continues to expand its VOD selection through cable, satellite and telco operators but does not include more than 150-200 titles per month due to the bandwidth constraints of these systems.
Within weeks of its October 2009 launch, EPIX signed an exclusive first-run agreements with two additional studios: a deal with Samuel Goldwyn Films to broadcast 20 movies from the studio, and a deal to carry 22 feature films from independent film studio Roadside Attractions.
The EPIX television service officially launched at 8 p.m. Eastern Time on October 30, 2009 on Verizon FiOS systems, becoming the first U.S. premium cable channel (not counting multiplex services of existing premium channels) to debut in 15 years since Liberty Media and Tele-Communications, Inc. launched Starz in February 1994. The first program to air on the channel was the 2008 film Iron Man, followed by the concert special Madonna Sticky & Sweet Tour: Live from Buenos Aires. The then-single channel service 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 (significantly less than other premium channels, which normally range in price from $12.99 to $17.99 a month). EPIX also provided customers (regardless as to whether or not they subscribed to Verizon FiOS), free previews of the online service using invite codes to access the website's film content that were given on a first come, first served basis each weekend through the end of November 2009.
Cox Communications reached a carriage deal with EPIX on January 9, 2010, with the channel becoming available on April 1, 2010 on its television service in both standard and high definition, as well as via video on demand and online. Mediacom signed a carriage agreement with Epix on January 14, 2010. This was followed on April 19, 2010 by Dish Network's announcement that it would immediately begin carrying the channel as part of its "PlatinumHD" package, making it the channel's only national distribution partner. On April 29, 2010, Charter Communications began carrying Epix as a package that offers both the channel's video on demand content in standard (150 titles at a time) and high definition (75 titles at a time), along with online streaming for just $10 a month.
Following its addition to Dish Network, EPIX launched its first two multiplex channels on the satellite provider during the 2010 calendar year: EPIX2 debuted first on May 12, followed by the August 11 debut of The 3 From EPIX, which carries movies from the 1970s to the present. In August 2010, Epix signed a distribution deal with Netflix, that would allow movies seen on the channel to become available for viewing on the subscription streaming service 90 days after their premiere broadcast on the Epix television channel. On December 31 of that year, Suddenlink Communications reached an agreement with Viacom to carry EPIX as part of an overall extension of its agreement to carry channels owned by Viacom subsidiary MTV Networks. In March 2014, Time Warner Cable reached an agreement with Viacom to carry EPIX.
Since its inception, EPIX has been a leader in TV Everywhere; it was the first premium network to make its films available for streaming (beginning with the network's launch in 2009, its films were available via EPIX.com). EPIX was also the first premium network to have its program content available on Roku devices, the Microsoft Xbox and, on January 3, 2013, EPIX entered into a distribution agreement with Sony Corporation to become the first premium channel to bring its streaming service to the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita gaming devices.
List of channels
Depending on the service provider, EPIX provides up to eight multiplex channels – four 24-hour multiplex channels, three of which are simulcast in both standard definition and high definition (with the exception of EPIX Drive-In, which broadcasts solely in standard definition) – as well as a subscription video-on-demand service (EPIX on Demand).
Three of the multiplex channels – EPIX2, EPIX3 and EPIX Drive-In – have distribution that is less extensive than the primary EPIX channel; as such, the availability of any of the three channels varies depending on the carrier (provider availability of the multiplex channels is noted within the descriptions below). EPIX broadcasts its primary channel on both Eastern and Pacific Time Zone schedules, while its multiplex channels are broadcast solely on an Eastern Time Zone schedule.
|Channel||Description and programming|
|EPIX||The flagship channel; EPIX airs blockbuster movies, first-run films, comedy and music specials and championship boxing events.|
|EPIX2||EPIX's secondary channel; it offers additional movies and specials, along with mixed martial arts events; the channel launched on May 12, 2010, and is available only to Dish Network and Verizon FiOS subscribers.|
|EPIX3||Similar to EPIX2, the channel features movies, first-run films and original specials. Chronologically, EPIX3 was technically launched as the fourth multiplex channel of Epix on January 1, 2012; it is currently available only to Dish Network subscribers.|
|EPIX Drive-In||The channel features a mix of action, comedy, science fiction and horror films from the 1970s to the present. Chronologically, this channel (which was formerly known as The 3 From EPIX until December 31, 2011) was originally launched as the third multiplex channel of EPIX on August 11, 2010; it is currently available only to Dish Network subscribers.|
EPIX HD (television)
EPIX HD is a high definition simulcast of the East Coast feed of the Epix channel that broadcasts in the 1080i resolution format. It was launched on October 30, 2009, alongside the standard-definition feed of the channel. It is currently available nationally through Dish Network, and is carried regionally by Verizon FiOS, Charter Communications, Mediacom, Cox Communications, Suddenlink Communications and EPB.
EPIX HD (online streaming)
In addition to lending its name to the HD simulcast television feed, EPIX HD is also used as the name of the network's online on-demand service available on EPIX.com, the Roku streaming player, Microsoft Xbox, Sony PlayStation, Apple iOS devices, Android devices and select Samsung Smart TV models. EPIX's on-demand streaming service, which requires a subscription to one of the channel's participating television providers in order to access the content, launched to the public on October 29, 2009 – one day before the linear channel's launch (for a month prior to the channel's launch, only management of prospective providers had access to film content). High definition programming content on the online services is offered in the 1080i resolution format. Netflix announced a deal on August 10, 2010 to allow Netflix subscribers access to stream movie titles from EPIX. Titles became available on September 1, 2010, with some newer films being released on Netflix within 90 days of their premiere on the EPIX television and streaming services.
On September 4, 2012, following the expiration of the exclusivity clause of the Netflix agreement that allowed EPIX to license streaming rights for films distributed to the channel to competing services, the channel entered into a three-year agreement with Amazon to provide film content on its Instant Video streaming service. Films will appear on Amazon Instant Video after the same 90-day delay period following their EPIX debut as with the Netflix deal.
EPIX on Demand
EPIX on Demand is the television video on demand service of EPIX that is available to the channel's subscribers at no additional cost. It offers feature films, and original concert and stand-up comedy specials previously seen on the network. EPIX on Demand's rotating program selection incorporates select new titles that are added each Friday, alongside existing program titles held over from the previous one to two weeks. It is available to EPIX subscribers of Verizon FiOS, Mediacom, Charter Communications, Cox Communications and Dish Network.
EPIX currently has exclusive deals with major and smaller independent movie studios. As of January 2014, films featured on the channel primarily include recent releases and film library content from the network's three corporate parents: Viacom-owned Paramount Pictures (along with film content from its subsidiaries Paramount Vantage, Insurge Pictures, MTV Films and Nickelodeon Movies), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (along with content from subsidiary United Artists) and Lions Gate Entertainment (along with content from subsidiaries Mandate Pictures and Pantelion Films), as well as feature films from Samuel Goldwyn Films and Roadside Attractions (the latter of which is owned in part by Lionsgate, in conjunction with company founders Howard Cohen and Eric d'Arbeloff). Epix also retains the pay television rights to Marvel Studios' The Avengers, part of Marvel's parent The Walt Disney Company's agreement with Paramount after purchasing distribution of the film from the latter studio in October 2011.
The window between a film's initial release in theatres and its initial screening on EPIX is stated to be slightly smaller than the grace period between its initial theatrical release and its initial pay television broadcast on either HBO/Cinemax, Showtime or Starz; as such, films will have a longer broadcast duration during their term of license agreement than is currently possible with the other major premium channels. Epix's programming format is similar to that of the primary channel of Encore, in that its schedule includes recent film releases that are interspersed with older movies released between the 1970s and the 1990s, with recently released films often scheduled alongside preceded by the older film titles during daytime and prime time hours.
Prior to the network's launch, EPIX ordered its first original series pilot, Tough Trade (to have been produced by corporate sister Lionsgate Television). The drama, created by Jenji Kohan (the creator of Weeds and Orange Is the New Black), was to have centered on three generations of a dysfunctional family involved in country music. A pilot was filmed in late summer 2009 in Nashville, with the intent of being picked up for a 2010 debut. Tough Trade was not picked up to series by EPIX. The network's first original comedy special, Lewis Black's Stark Raving Black premiered on the channel on December 5, 2009.
Laverne McKinnon (who previously served as head of drama development for CBS), resigned from her role as executive vice president of original programming and development for EPIX on August 4, 2011. The network has not ventured into original television scripted series since that point, but has remained active in producing other original programming exclusively for the channel (as of August 2013[update]) including documentaries, sports, comedy and music specials. On June 30, 2012, EPIX launched a monthly showcase called "EPIX Comedy Unbound", featuring comedy specials airing on the final weekend of each month; the first special to be aired as part of the showcase was Jim Norton: Please Be Offended.
On March 19, 2011, EPIX became the third premium cable channel (after HBO and Showtime) to telecast professional boxing events with the telecast of a heavyweight title fight held in Cologne, Germany between Vitali Klitschko and Odlanier Solis. In addition to airing on the linear Epix channel, the fight was also streamed live on the channel's website. The fight was the first heavyweight title boxing event to air on American television since Klitschko's September 2009 match against Chris Arreola (which aired one month prior to Epix's debut), and the first televised heavyweight championship bout since Klitschko's December 2009 match against Kevin Johnson.
EPIX also has rights to broadcast the Bellator Fighting Championships mixed martial arts tournament. Fellow Bellator broadcaster MTV2 (which is a sister channel to Epix through Viacom's ownership interest in the channel) operates an HD simulcast feed, which currently has minimal cable and satellite carriage. Bellator matches that are broadcast on EPIX are carried by its multiplex channel EPIX2, rather than the primary channel.
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- With ‘Homeland,’ Showtime Makes Gains on HBO
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- Epix lands first carriage deal, The Hollywood Reporter, July 28, 2009.
- DirecTV Will Pass On Epix – Interim CEO Miller Says No Need For Another Movie Channel Multichannel News August 6, 2009.
- "EPIX MegaPlex to offer 3,000 shows online". The Online Reporter. September 25, 2009. Archived from the original on September 25, 2009. Retrieved February 25, 2011.
- Goldywn Inks With Upstart EPIX, IndieWire, August 6, 2009.
- Movie channel Epix in deal to carry Roadside movies International Business Times September 2, 2009.
- EPIX Unveils Powerhouse Launch Weekend Lineup Reuters October 12, 2009
- Epix Picks a Launch Date NewTeeVee.com October 13, 2009
- Starz!, New Premium Channel, Launches Tonight with Unprecedented Support from Major Hollywood Studios, Press Release (via HighBeam Research), February 1, 1994. Retrieved February 24, 2011 from HighBeam Research.
- FiOS TV Prices Epix at $9.99 – Verizon Service Taking Orders For New Movie Service Monday Multichannel News October 29, 2009.
- Epix Opens Access to Consumers with a Hitch PaidContent.org October 28, 2009.
- Viacom's Premium Movie Channel Epix Coming To Cox
- Epix Gains Multiplatform Carriage On Cox In April – Joint Venture Movie Service, Also Available On FiOS, Scores Second Distribution Deal, Multichannel News, January 11, 2010.
- Mediacom to carry Epix pay TV channel, Business Week, January 14, 2010.
- Dish Network to carry Viacom's Epix HD nationwide
- Charter Communications' official online website
- DISH NETWORK BOOSTS INDUSTRY-LEADING HD LINEUP WITH SIX NEW CHANNELS
- The 3 From Epix Launches First On Dish – New Channel Shows Movies From ‘70s Until Present, Multichannel News, August 16, 2010
- Lawler, Richard (10 Aug 2010). "Netflix, EPIX deal is official; Paramount, MGM and Lionsgate movies start streaming September 1". Engadget. Retrieved August 29, 2012.
- Suddenlink, Viacom Reach Agreement, Suddenlink Communications, December 31, 2010.
- Epix films, programming to land on PS3 in first quarter
- EPIX Drive-In and EPIX 3 debut on DISH
- "Suddenlink, Viacom Reach Agreement". Suddenlink Official Company Blog. Retrieved August 6, 2011.
- Epix, Netflix announce deal to stream movies August 10, 2010
- "Amazon and Epix strike movie deal; Netflix shares drop". Reuters. September 4, 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-04.
- Lionsgate takes minority stake in Roadside Attractions, ScreenDaily, July 26, 2007.
- Graser, Marc (October 11, 2011). "Why Par, not Disney, gets 'Avengers' credit". Variety. Archived from the original on October 12, 2011. Retrieved October 12, 2011.
- Talking TV With Epix's Mark Greenberg Forbes.com October 30, 2009
- Epix greenlights 'Tough Trade' Variety.com, February 10, 2009.
- Epix’s Head Of Original Programming Exits, Deadline.com, August 4, 2011.
- Epix to Launch Monthly Comedy Showcase 'Epix Comedy Unbound', The Hollywood Reporter, June 28, 2012.
- Epix joins HBO, Showtime in boxing game, Yahoo! Sports (via the Associated Press), March 17, 2011.
- Klitschko-Solis A Heavyweight Fight of EPIX Proportions, Boxing Scene, March 19, 2011.
- Bellator to simulcast fifth season in high definition on EPIX, MMAjunkie.com, August 30, 2011.