VoD movie channel Epix launches $8M branding campaign

Two years ago, startup video-on-demand movie channel Epix was meeting in borrowed booths over coffee at NAB. Now, the channel, backed by Viacom's Paramount, Lionsgate Entertainment and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, is profitable and getting ready to kick off an $8 million marketing campaign it hopes will help it close the gap on competitors HBO, Starz and Showtime.

Epix launched against long odds, yet another pay-TV channel struggling to get into operators' channel lineups.

Today, it has some 10 million subscribers (compared to the 20 million to 30 million its competitors are estimated to have), has a home on Verizon's (NYSE: VZ) FiOS TV lineup and on an array of other service providers as well, including Cox, Dish Network (Nasdaq: DISH) and Charter (Nasdaq: CHTR).

The New York Post said the channel, run by Chief Executive Mark Greenberg, has launched a media blitz that includes TV spots, billboard and radio time.

For the moment, much of Epix's streaming content is tied up with Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX), part of a $900 million deal the two made in 2010. But that deal is close to finishing, meaning its content from Lionsgate, Paramount and MGM can be shopped to other streaming services.

"Netflix is an important customer," Greenberg said. "We'll see if it remains important to them or not. They have the option for exclusivity, if not, then the digital space is open."

Under the terms of the deal, Netflix gets those titles 90 days after they've been released in the DVD window.

For more:
- see this New York Post article

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Epix expands VOD offerings
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Verizon signed on last fall to carry EPIX