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ⓘ Epix is an American premium cable and satellite television network that is owned by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The channels programming consists of recent and older t ..




Epix
                                     

ⓘ Epix

Epix is an American premium cable and satellite television network that is owned by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The channels programming consists of recent and older theatrically released motion pictures, original series, documentaries, and music and comedy specials.

Launched in October 2009, Epix is the youngest of the major premium television channels in the United States, and is currently led by President Michael Wright. Since he joined the network in November 2017, Epix has announced many new series including Godfather of Harlem starring Forest Whitaker, Pennyworth, the origin story of Batmans butler Alfred, Perpetual Grace, LTD starring Ben Kingsley and Jimmi Simpson, Deep State, unscripted series Unprotected Sets executive produced by Wanda Sykes and the return of The Contender.

Epix and, depending on the carriage of any of the latter services, its three multiplex channels are sold by most traditional multichannel video programming distributors either as premium services or as part of la carte digital movie tiers as well as by over-the-top MVPDs Sling TV which includes the full Epix multiplex, with Epix Drive-In available to all base subscribers of its Sling Orange and Sling Blue packages and the remaining Epix channels offered as a premium add-on for an extra fee.

                                     

1. Background

Paramount Pictures has been involved in the pay television industry since the 1950s. From 1953 to 1961, Paramount owned Telemeter, an ambitious but expensive theater television system that transmitted using closed circuitry – as opposed to broadcast frequencies – over which customers could purchase broadcasts by inserting coins into a collection box.

In April 1980, Paramount then owned by Gulf+Western, MCA/Universal Studios, Columbia Pictures and 20th Century Fox partnered with Getty Oil to jointly develop a pay cable service called Premiere. The proposed channel would have maintained exclusive first-run rights to newer feature films distributed by each of the studios which would have aired nine months before to their initial telecasts on other premium channels, along with carrying films cherry-picked from other studios without any exclusivity. Displeased that the venture would likely give the four studios disproportionate control of the pay television marketplace, Time-Life, Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment and Viacom/TelePrompTer the then respective owners of HBO, The Movie Channel and Showtime proceeded to file an antitrust lawsuit against the studios with the U.S. Justice Department later that year. After reviewing the case, the Justice Department issued an injunction blocking Premieres planned January 1, 1981 launch, deeming the venture to be an illegal boycott of the existing pay services that would subject them to possible financial damage if its presence resulted in price fixing of film titles. Paramount, MCA, Fox and Columbia decided to scrap the venture after the ruling was handed down.

In August 1982, MCA/Universal and Gulf+Western reached an agreement with Warner Communications to each acquire 25% interests in The Movie Channel, a struggling pay service then-owned by Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment, a cable television venture of Warner and American Express that would retain the remaining 25%. This proposal was driven by the studios wanting to increase revenue received from licensing their films to premium television services, and industry concerns that dominant premium service HBO would hold undue negotiating power for these rights through its acquisitions of film titles prior to their theatrical release. In January 1983, the proposal was amended to include Viacom International, which proposed to consolidate The Movie Channel and Showtime of which Viacom had acquired the 50% interest inherited by Group W Cable through its prior merger with TelePrompTer for $75 million in August 1982 into one unit. Four of the partners would respectively own 22.58% of both networks, with American Express owning the remaining 9.68%. As with the earlier Premiere proposal, the Justice Department subjected the proposal to regulatory scrutiny as Warner, Universal and Paramount received 50% of their respective total revenue from film releases and licensing fees from premium services; the 30% share that would be held by the Showtime-TMC combination would have also formed an oligopoly in the pay cable market with HBO and Cinemax.

The proposal was revised twice to address these issues and others cited by HBO executives in responses to a civil antitrust lawsuit against the Showtime-Movie Channel merger that was filed by the Justice Department on June 10, 1983. This culminated in Paramount and Universal being dropped from the partnership in the final revision submitted on July 28, 1983; Warner Communications, Viacom and Warner-Amex became the only partners remaining in the proposal, which a Justice Department memorandum cited would "prevent any anti-competitive effect from arising," currying the Departments formal approval of the proposal on August 13 three weeks before it was finalized on September 6. Shortly afterward, Paramount signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Showtime, which had already maintained a licensing deal with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer that gave the service exclusive pay cable rights to MGMs films.

Both of Showtimes tenures with Paramount ended in acrimony. In the spring of 1989, Paramount struck an exclusive licensing agreement with HBO; subsequently that May, Paramount filed a lawsuit against Showtime Networks, its parent Viacom, and the corporate parent of both entities, National Amusements over Showtimes alleged refusal to pay a total of $88 million in fees for five films – all of which had underperformed in their theatrical release – to reduce the minimum liability for its 75-film package from the studio. Showtime regained first-run pay cable rights to Paramounts films through a seven-year distribution deal signed in May 1995, in a byproduct of Viacoms merger with Paramount Pictures parent Paramount Communications the year prior; this agreement gave the services of Showtime Networks – Showtime, The Movie Channel and Flix – exclusive rights to all films released by the studio from 1997 onward starting in January 1998, following the expiration of Paramounts contract with HBO.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer MGM signed an exclusive first-run premium cable rights agreement with Showtime in 1981, encompassing the studios films and releases through its United Artists subsidiary; Showtime and MGM renewed this agreement in April 1985 for ten years, initially split with HBO and Cinemax, September 1993 for six years, with an extension signed in March 1998, and in April 2000 for nine years. The 2000 renewal deal also included a production development agreement to produce three original series – which would end up consisting of Dead Like Me, The L Word and the short-lived Barbershop: The Series – for Showtime between 2003 and 2007. By 2002, after that studio finished a long-term distribution pact with HBO and Cinemax, Lions Gate Entertainment joined Paramount and MGM as Showtimes major film suppliers. Paramounts distribution contract with Showtime expired in January 2008, three years after the original Viacom corporate structure was split into two standalone companies within the National Amusements umbrella: a successor entity that adopted the Viacom name, which took over Paramounts operations and select other divisions including the original entitys basic cable channels, and CBS Corporation, which – among the few properties it kept from its pre-split entity – retained ownership of Showtime Networks; MGM and Lions Gates respective contracts with Showtime subsequently expired at the end of that year. National Amusements re-merged the successor Viacom and CBS Corporation in December 2019 to form ViacomCBS, bringing Showtime and Paramount back under the same immediate corporate umbrella.

                                     

2.1. History Development and launch

The formation of Epix was announced on April 21, 2008, after individual negotiations between Paramount Pictures, MGM, and Lionsgate with Showtime to renew their existing film output deals broke down; each of the three studios disagreed with Showtime over the licensing fee rates for which they wanted Showtime to compensate them to allow future releases to air on the Showtime Networks services. 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 linear television and on-demand service; the partnership formally announced the launch of Epix at the National Association of Television Program Executives NATPE Convention on January 27, 2009. Mark Greenberg – a former executive at HBO, Showtime and Blockbuster Entertainment – created the business plan and strategy, then partnered with the Lions Gate/MGM/Paramount consortium to build and launch the network. Greenberg was the first CEO of Epix, leading it from its creation in early 2008, through its acquisition by MGM until he stepped down after a nine-year tenure in 2017.

The network would focus on both recent feature films from Paramount specifically those released after 2008, MGM/United Artists and Lionsgate consisting of films released by each studio from 2009 onward as well as library content from each of the studios. Within weeks of its October 2009 launch, Epix signed an exclusive first-run film content agreements with two additional studios: one with Samuel Goldwyn Films to broadcast a package of 20 recent and scheduled-for-release theatrical movies from the studio, and another to carry a package of 22 recent and upcoming feature films from independent film studio Roadside Attractions of which Lions Gate Entertainment had acquired a 45% minority interest in July 2007. Studio 3 Partners chose the Viacom subdivision MTV Networks later renamed Viacom Media Networks in January 2011, now known as ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks since the 2019 Viacom-CBS merger to provide operational support, marketing services and affiliate distribution for the channel. The network hired Mark Greenberg – who formerly served as a marketing executive at HBO and as an executive vice president at Showtime – to serve as Epixs founding president and chief executive officer.

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, although its programming would be presented without editing for airtime or objectionable content and without commercial advertising a structure similar to the distribution method of Starz Encore. The channel also reportedly sought a monthly license fee of $1 to $1.50 per subscriber from prospective providers. Epix reached its first carriage agreement on July 28, 2009, when it signed a deal with Verizon FiOS. In contrast, that August, two months prior to the channels launch, three major pay television providers – cable providers Comcast and Cablevision, and satellite provider DirecTV – each formally announced that they would not carry Epix. DirecTV said regarding its decision not to carry the channel: "We think there are enough which ever way we all decide is best for our companies." Financial analysts estimated that Epix would be valued between $1 billion and $2 billion. On January 26, confidential sources with Studio 3 Partners confirmed to Reuters that Lionsgate had entered into discussions to sell its 31% stake in Epix to MGM and Paramount/Viacom; if a deal was reached, the two remaining partners would have become 50-50 partners in Epix.

On March 9, Reuters reported that MGM was in discussions to buy out the interests in Epix held by Lionsgate and Viacom. These discussions culminated in a formal deal announced on April 5, 2017, in which MGM, Viacom and Lionsgate announced that they had reached an agreement for MGM to acquire Paramount/Viacom and Lionsgates combined 80.91% interests – totaling 49.76% and 31.15%, respectively – in Epix for $1.032 billion a purchase price based on a total evaluation of $1.275 billion for the channel, factoring in $75 million in distribution fees among each of the partners. On May 11, 2017, MGM announced that it had completed its acquisition of Viacom and Lionsgates 80.9% interest in Epix, giving it full control over the premium network.

                                     

3.1. Channels List of channels

Depending on the service provider, Epix provides up to eight multiplex channels – four 24-hour multiplex channels, all of which are simulcast in both standard definition and high definition – as well as a subscription video-on-demand service Epix on Demand.

Two of the multiplex channels – EPIX2 and EPIX Hits – maintain less extensive distribution than that of the primary Epix channel; as such, the availability of any of the two channels varies depending on the carrier provider availability of the multiplex channels is noted within the descriptions in the table below. Epix broadcasts its primary channel on both Eastern and Pacific Time Zone schedules, while its multiplex channels are programmed solely on an Eastern Time Zone schedule.

                                     

3.2. Channels Epix HD online streaming

EPIX HD is the networks online on-demand service that is available on Epix.com, and also through apps for Android devices and Android TV, Apple iOS and Apple TV, Chromecast, Microsoft Xbox both Xbox 360, and Xbox One, the Roku streaming player, select Samsung Smart TV models, and Sony PlayStation consoles. Live simulcasts of the four networks are also available to subscribers, depending on platform or mode of access. Epix launched its on-demand streaming service to the public on October 29, 2009, one day before the launch of the linear channel. The service requires a subscription to one of the channels participating television providers in order to access program content.

                                     

3.3. Channels Epix Now

Epix Now is an over-the-top OTT subscription streaming service from Epix available online and through apps for Android tablets and phones, Apple iOS and Apple TV devices with apps for Roku, Android TV and Amazon Fire TV devices coming soon. On February 22, 2018, MGM announced plans to launch an OTT streaming service to be sold directly to non-subscribers of the linear Epix service, alongside plans for 4K HDR streaming for their films.

Epix Now offers access to on-demand movies from their movie library and original shows from Epix. The service also offers live streams of all four Epix multiplex channels, and offline viewing through the apps.

                                     

3.4. Channels Epix On Demand

Epix On Demand is Epixs television video on demand service that is available to the channels subscribers at no additional cost. It offers feature films from Epixs distribution partners and the networks original series, as well as original concert and stand-up comedy specials that were previously seen on the network. Epix On Demands 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, among other providers, Charter Communications including the former Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks systems that are now part of Charter Spectrum, Cox Communications, Dish Network, Mediacom, Sling TV, and Verizon FiOS.

                                     

4.1. Programming Movie library

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 networks three original corporate parents: ViacomCBS-owned Paramount Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer along with content from subsidiary United Artists and Lions Gate Entertainment along with content from subsidiaries Summit Entertainment, Mandate Pictures and Pantelion Films, as well as feature films from Samuel Goldwyn Films and Roadside Attractions the latter of which is part-owned by Lionsgate, in conjunction with company founders Howard Cohen and Eric dArbeloff.

Although Lionsgate acquired Summit Entertainment in January 2012, that studio maintains an existing film output deal with rival HBO, which began in 2013 through an initial five-year deal covering all Summit releases through 2017; Summit renewed the HBO contract for four additional years extending to films released through 2022 on March 1, 2016, and as such, Summits films are also restricted from airing on the networks of Lionsgate-owned competitor Starz. In 2020, Lionsgates contract with Epix will expire, with that studios first-run contract moving to Hulu and FX for 2020-21, before moving to Starz in 2022.

As of June 2019, the channels three multiplex services – Epix 2, Epix Hits and Epix Drive-In – also offer sub-licensed movie content from the Sony Pictures Entertainment library.

The window between a films initial release in theaters and its initial airing on Epix is stated to be slightly reduced in comparison to the grace period between its theatrical release and its first 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. Epixs programming format is similar to that of the primary channel of Starz 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 the older film titles during daytime and prime time slots.



                                     

4.2. Programming Original programming

Prior to the networks 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 creator of Weeds and Orange Is the New Black, was to have centered on three generations of a dysfunctional family involved in country music. The pilot was filmed in late summer 2009 in Nashville, with the intent of being picked up to series for a 2010 debut; however, Epix declined to greenlight Tough Trade for a series order. The networks first original comedy special, Lewis Blacks 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. Thereafter, Epix remained active in producing other original programming exclusively for the channel, including documentaries, sports, comedy, and music specials. On June 30, 2012, Epix launched a monthly comedy special showcase called "EPIX Comedy Unbound", consisting of a new special premiering on the final weekend of each month; the first special to be aired as part of the showcase was Jim Norton: Please Be Offended.

In early 2015, Epix renewed its original scripted programming efforts after a four-year embargo, emphasizing development of drama series. These plans were cemented on January 12, 2015, when Epix hired Jocelyn Diaz – who, immediately prior to her appointment, had served as vice president of production at The Walt Disney Studios, and was previously head of drama development at HBO – as its executive vice president of original programming and development.

On July 8 of that year, Epix announced its first original scripted project to be picked up as a series, both of which are set for a fall 2016 debut: Graves, a political satire from Lionsgate Television and creator Joshua Michael Stern with Nick Nolte and Sela Ward toplining the shows cast, about a former American president seeking to repair the damage caused by his administration, and Berlin Station, an espionage drama produced by Paramount Television, about a CIA agents quest to uncover an information leak at the agencys Berlin office. The two series made their debuts on October 16, 2016.

The network would expand its series development in May 2016, when Epix ordered a thriller comedy series based on the 1990 book and 1995 film adaptation Get Shorty – with Ray Romano tapped to headline its cast – to be produced by MGM Television. Subsequently, in January 2017, the network ordered the comedy pilot Picture Paris – a series adaptation of the 2011 short film written by Brad Hall, who was tapped as its showrunner – straight to series; the program would mark the first major television role by Meg Ryan, who was tapped as its star, since her supporting main role in the short-lived 1985 ABC western series Wildside.



                                     

4.3. Programming Sports programming

On March 19, 2011, Epix became the third premium cable channel – after HBO and Showtime – to air professional boxing events with the telecast of a heavyweight title fight between Vitali Klitschko and Odlanier Solis, held in Cologne, Germany. In addition to airing on the linear Epix channel, the fight was also streamed live on the channels website. The fight was the first heavyweight title event to air on American television since Klitschkos September 2009 match against Chris Arreola which aired one month prior to Epixs debut, and the first televised heavyweight championship bout since Klitschkos December 2009 match against Kevin Johnson.

Epix also serves as the broadcast rightsholder for the Bellator Fighting Championships mixed martial arts tournament, which carries its events over multiplex channel EPIX2, instead of the primary channel.

Beginning with the National Hockey Leagues 2014–15 season and concluding until the 2016–17 season, Epix also held the rights to broadcast documentary series leading up to some of the leagues major events, starting with the 2015 Winter Classic. This was discontinued for the 2017–18 season, when those series were moved to NBCSN.

                                     
  • 2005 to January 7, 2009 on NBC, ESPN, and Versus and currently airs on Epix Each season of the series follows a group of boxers as they compete with
  • LTD is an American neo - noir thriller television series that premiered on Epix on June 2, 2019. The series is produced by MGM Television, with co - creators
  • Lucian Read, and Richard Rowley, that premiered on September 30, 2016, on Epix America Divided in Season One explored critical societal issues from the
  • television series hosted by Elvis Mitchell that premiered on February 4, 2019, on Epix Elvis Goes There features the veteran journalist traveling with A - list
  • food intake and body weight in rodents. PRX - 07034 was under development by Epix Pharmaceuticals for the treatment of obesity and cognitive impairment associated
  • premiere in November on Epix as well as on EPIX on Demand and Epix HD.com. Epix president and CEO Mark Greenberg said, EPIX is dedicated to bringing
  • American documentary television series that premiered on October 5, 2018, on Epix Unprotected Sets films in Portland, San Diego, Washington, D.C., Minneapolis
  • through EPIX a joint venture between Paramount Pictures, MGM, and Lionsgate. The film aired on July 21, 2011 on the EPIX channel, Epix SVOD service, Epix HD
  • is the creator and Executive Producer of the television show Get Shorty Epix and Executive Producer of the show Shameless Showtime Other shows he
  • to be released on January 16, 2014 via the online movie streaming website Epix HD but was pushed back by the company for unknown reasons. However, it did
  • the top shows on Apple Podcasts. It was announced in February 2019 that Epix is producing a six - part television series based on the first season Watergate

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