Movie channel Epix, owned by Paramount, Lions Gate and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, debuts today (Oct. 30) with a Madonna concert and other exclusive content -- but distribution is lagging. The
channel's only distribution pact so far is with Verizon's FiOS TV service, making it available to 2.5 million households.
Epix expected to announce additional distribution deals before and after the premium movie channel launched. "Negotiations are continuing, but are complex. Along with packaging and pricing, the talks involve the use of technology, like the Internet and mobile devices," says Epix CEO Mark Greenberg. Sources say Epix is in advanced discussions with EchoStar Corp's Dish Network, which reaches more than 13 million households.
The new channel hopes to compete with HBO and Showtime in the premium movie channel business. Along with its linear premium channel, Epix will provide video on demand as well as a broadband-based website, which is expected to offer more than 3,000 movie titles in high def.