Technology

MGM joins the streaming mega-race with launch of Epix Now service

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It has been widely expected that MGM would throw its hat into the streaming ring, and now it’s official: The company’s Epix premium cable offering is now the driving force behind Epix Now, a $6 per month over-the-top (OTT) streaming service that offers a combination of on-demand and livestreaming content.

For the moment, Epix Now will be available via an app (for iOS, Apple TV, and Android devices), but MGM plans a wider rollout that will see the service arrive on platforms like Roku and Amazon Fire TV, over the course of 2019. Content will be available to stream directly over an internet connection, but some will also be eligible for downloading, depending on the show and the device you’re using to access the service. Some content will also be available in 4K, at no extra charge, though so far there’s no word on whether these 4K streams will support HDR as well. Epix’s vice president and general manager, Monty Sahran, has hinted in the past that HDR support will eventually be added. Epix Now also supports the use of AirPlay between compatible iOS and Apple TV devices.

As far as the content selection goes, Epix subscribers will see many familiar titles. Subscribers get access to all four Epix live channels: Epix, Epix2, Epix Hits, and Epix Drive-In. Then there’s the lineup of on-demand content, including original series like Get Shorty, Berlin Station and Deep State, which are available along with thousands of Hollywood movies from the larger MGM-owned catalog.

Not all MGM content will show up, however. An Epix spokeswoman told The Verge that “the channel has distribution agreements that cover much of the films from MGM, Paramount, and Lionsgate films, which includes movies like J.J. Abram’s Star Trek, Alex Garland’s Annihilation, Denis Villenvue’s Arrival, James Cameron’s Terminator 2: Judgement Day, and John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place. The platform’s television selection is limited to Epix’s original shows, rather than the larger back-catalog that MGM holds.”

MGM sees Epix Now as an important platform on which it can grow its access to consumers. Until now, the Epix premium service was only available as a cable or satellite upgrade, or as an addition to one of the many streaming TV platforms, like SlingTV, or PlayStation Vue. In 2015, these subscribers were given the ability to download shows for offline viewing. Even with these constraints, Epix has managed to accumulate 15 million monthly subscribers, which suggests that those who have not only cut the cord, but who also don’t pay for a virtual TV service, might be willing to go directly to the source if it’s got the content they want.


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