Beginning Dec. 10, Comcast will replace Starz and begin offering Epix, a premium network owned by MGM, in some of its Xfinity TV premium packages.
On Dec. 4, Comcast will begin the process of rolling out Epix, including live and on-demand content, into all packages with Starz and several non-Starz packages. On Dec. 10, Comcast will remove Starz from all packages. On Dec. 12, Comcast will launch three new Epix channels, Epix 2, Epix Hits and Epix Drive-in, which will be included with packages that had previously included Starz.
The move by Comcast confirms reports that the TV provider was considering removing Starz and Starz Encore from its primary video service bundle at the end of the year.
Comcast said that it considered customer viewership and programming costs before deciding to scale back its carriage of Starz.
“This will help us manage programming costs that are passed on to our customers while continuing to make this content available to those who want to watch it,” Comcast wrote on its website.
Starz responded by warning its Comcast subscribers about the upcoming change.
"Starz has been working diligently to reach a fair market distribution agreement with Comcast Xfinity in order to continue providing our shared customers with access to our acclaimed line-up of premium television content. However, months before our contract deadline and in spite of our best efforts to engage in meaningful discussions, Comcast has publicly stated their intention to drop our networks from all packages and bundles, ignoring industry precedent and demonstrating a total disregard for its customers, communities, suppliers and other stakeholders," the company said in a statement.
For Epix, the new deal expands on the existing carriage agreement it signed with Comcast in 2018.
“I’m thrilled to welcome this new chapter in Epix’s relationship with Comcast,” said Michael Wright, president of Epix, in a statement. “We have a shared commitment to providing viewers an unmatched experience and are excited for Xfinity TV customers to experience Epix’s lineup of new original series and great movies.”
“Epix has been a great partner, and we are very pleased to deliver its critically acclaimed originals and vast content library to more Xfinity TV customers,” said Dana Strong, president of consumer services for Comcast Cable, in a statement.
Epix also announced the upcoming launch of ScreenPix, a suite of library channels offering a curated collection of commercial-free movies. The ScreenPix suite includes ScreenPix; ScreenPix: Action; ScreenPix: Westerns; and ScreenPix: Voices, a channel dedicated to diverse voices.