TV channel / online service combo Epix has finally locked up its first distribution partner, Verizon's FiOS TV. Not a lot of details are available yet, but Viacom CEO Phillippe Dauman says it can offer the service a la carte, in bundles with broadband, and even plans a mobile VCast offering. We've already had a peek at the in-beta HD streams and saw a lot to like, with planned access on three screens and flicks from MGM, Lionsgate and Paramount locked up for years to come Epix is shaping up as a very formidable offering prior to its planned October launch.
Update: Epix hit us off with the official PR (posted after the break) but here's the most important details - in the coming weeks, Verizon customers will be able to access a preview of the network, either through their VOD menu on the FiOS set-top box, or by visiting EpixHD.com and entering their account info.
Verizon To Be First Distribution Partner Of Premium Multi-Platform Channel EPIX
Deal Gives Verizon's FiOS TV Customers Access to Three of the Industry's Premier Motion Picture Libraries as Well as Top First-Run Movies and Original Programming in HD from Paramount, MGM and Lionsgate
New York, NY, July 28, 2009 – EPIX™ announced today it has reached its first multi-platform distribution agreement, with Verizon, bringing top current Hollywood releases, 15,000 films from three of the top motion picture libraries, cutting-edge original programming and special events to Verizon's FiOS TV customers around the nation. EPIX subscribers can get their programming delivered anytime, anywhere, across multiple platforms, including FiOS TV's channel lineup and on-demand offering - in both SD and HD, via FiOS Internet, and delivered to wireless devices. EPIX is the new premium entertainment joint venture formed by Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA and VIA.B), its Paramount Pictures unit, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM) and Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF).
Upon the launch with Verizon, FiOS TV customers will gain immediate access to feature films on EPIX including 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. 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.
Among the most unique and compelling features provided on demand and online will be access to directors' script notes, outtakes, auditions and other unique extras including trivia and games, which will give consumers unfettered access to behind-the-scenes development of these films.
In addition, Verizon will give FiOS TV customers access to a preview of EPIX on-demand and epixhd.com in the coming weeks. FiOS TV customers will be able to access EPIX content simply by pressing the "On Demand" button on their remote control, by choosing "VOD" in FiOS TV'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 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," said Terry Denson, vice president of content strategy and acquisition for Verizon. "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."
Mark Greenberg, president of EPIX, added "Verizon and EPIX share a common goal: entertain America anytime, anywhere, making this an ideal partnership. 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."
FiOS TV offers a broad collection of programming, with 500 all-digital channels, including more than 115 HD channels, and more than 15,000 VOD titles per month – 70 percent of which are free. FiOS TV VOD also features more than 1,400 HD titles per month, more than 1,100 of which are free. In addition, FiOS TV offers an innovative Interactive Media Guide with next-generation, personalized interactive services, including free Facebook and Twitter social media applications, news and entertainment widgets, ESPN Fantasy Football, a robust search engine, and many other features.
EPIX is a joint venture between Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA and VIA.B), its Paramount Pictures unit, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM) and Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF). In the Fourth Quarter of 2009, EPIX will launch its next-generation premium entertainment channel, video on demand and Internet service that combines new and classic feature films and original programming, including series, music and comedy specials. The joint-venture will control all rights to EPIX's programming.
EPIX will have exclusive access to Paramount, Paramount Vantage, MTV Films and Nickelodeon Movies released theatrically on or after January 1, 2008 and MGM, United Artists and Lionsgate titles released theatrically on or after January 1, 2009. It will also have access to more than 15,000 motion picture titles spanning the vast libraries of the studios and will feature new original television series and live event programming. Differentiating itself from existing networks, EPIX will deliver content on multiple platforms and include interactivity that will significantly enhance the entertainment experience. Viacom will provide operational support, including marketing and affiliate services through its MTV Networks division.
Follow the EPIX twitter feed at http://www.twitter.com/EpixHD.