New Pay TV Channel Picks Epix, Brand Will Rival HBO, Showtime

Epix has been selected as the name for the premium cable channel set to launch next year by a Viacom, MGM and Lionsgate joint venture, MediaPost has learned. The channel will compete with Time Warner's venerable HBO brand, as well as Showtime, the pay TV channel operated by former Viacom sister company CBS Corp.

The Epix logo employs "epix" in lower case, with the "i" in a reddish color and the other three letters in gray.

Studio 3 Partners, the company that operates the network, filed multiple trademark applications for Epix with the federal government Dec. 5. The attorney listed on the filings is Lavatus Powell, who works for MTV Networks.

Through its MTV Networks unit, Viacom is taking the lead role in marketing and affiliate relations for the channel.

Efforts to reach Viacom executives for comment were unsuccessful late last night.

The joint venture was announced in April and described as a "next-generation premium television channel and video on demand service." Its principal programming will come from films produced by Viacom's Paramount unit, MGM and Lionsgate, though the companies said they would look for original TV series as well.

The network is slated for a fall 2009 launch and will have rights to films from Paramount and Paramount Vantage released this year, in 2009 and beyond; films from MGM and subsidiary United Artists released on Jan. 1, 2009 or after; and those from Lionsgate that are also released on Jan. 1, 2009 or after. The channel will also have access to films in the libraries of the studios.

The partners listed "Iron Man," "Pink Panther 2" and "Valkyrie" as films they will have exclusive access to during the pay TV window.

The partners have not announced any distribution deals with cable, satellite or telco TV operators.

But Studio 3 posted two job openings on LinkedIn this week, searching for a vice president of programming, and a vice president of business and legal affairs. The latter would work on Studio 3 matters for MTV Networks.

Tags: television, tv
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