Tag: Epix

Epix secures new Lewis Black special


Epix is a brand new premium channel owned by Paramount Pictures, Lionsgate, and MGM Studios. Minimal information has been released regarding the fledgling network. Based on what’s known, things haven’t been looking good. DirecTV, Comcast, and Cablevision have confirmed that they would not carry the channel due to the saturated market. With HBO, Showtime, Starz, Encore, Cinemax, and others already on television, it’s clear why Epix would have a tough time getting picked up. You see, the cable providers are the ones who pay out the premium channels in these relationships. There really isn’t any dire need to add Epix to their bills. Luckily, on July 28th, Epix reached a deal with Verizon Communications Inc.’s FiOS network, who became the channel’s very first distributor.

CEO Mark Greenberg has inferred that Epix will be more similar to HBO than Starz, airing comedy specials, original series, and other special features. It’s first original pilot, “Tough Trade,” created by “Weeds” writer Chris Ouffut, is in the works. A mini-series adaptation of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged has also been suggested. Today, Epix took one step forward towards their vision, nabbing Lewis Black’s newest comedy special “Stark Raving Black.”

Standup will star in the special “Stark Raving Black,” which reps the burgeoning pay channel’s first original comedy event.

Spec, to be filmed at Detroit’s Fillmore Theater, will run in December. It will also unspool this fall in theaters in 20 U.S. markets, as well as 25 international territories. An introduction to Epix will be featured during the screenings.

Besides the special, which will run on Epix’s TV and broadband platforms, the deal also includes an online event featuring Black, who will participate in a chat via Epix’s website following the show.

Epix will launch on October 1st and give America yet another reason to stay inside.

There is No Such Thing as a Free Movie

There is absolutely no doubt that the way we watch movies is changing, and changing fast. The film business has managed to avoid the wholesale slaughter of the music industry because of the higher bandwidth needed to convey a movie and the importance (to some of us, anyway) of picture and sound quality. Still, it’s only a matter of time before movies become easily available online, and distinctions between computers and TV sets as entertainment delivery systems is breaking down rapidly.

Hulu has become huge overnight by breaking down the barrier for TV shows and a limited but interesting selection of films despite sometimes erratic technical performance issues (at least on my iMac). Disney/ABC, Universal/NBC and, of course, the brain eating aliens are involved, though the enterprise was started by a force far more sinister and implacable: Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp.

Mashable’s Ben Parr today writes about Epix, which he describes as a joint venture of Paramount, Lionsgate, and MGM. Parr was allowed an early look at the site and, as a film fanboy, it sounds pretty great. If I understand it correctly, you would get the service as part of your cable TV or satellite package and would then be able to choose from a Hulu-like library to view either on television or via computer. If you’re into this stuff, you really should read for yourself. For me, one interesting aspect is that it’s unclear how deep that library would be, both because of marketing issues and because of the various confusing deals that have been struck over the years for MGM’s huge back catalog. (If you’re a masochist or just dig this stuff, here’s a Wikipedia taste.)

It all sounds great to me, except, just as there may be with Hulu, much as I enjoy the service it provides, it strikes me that there could be someĀ anti-trust issues here. Or not. I’m only a lawyer in my mother’s fantasies. Cord Bloomquist, however, has a good rundown of the situation vis a vis Hulu from a libertarian perspective, but I’m no libertarian when it comes to megabusiness. I’m really more of a latte-sipping Hollywood (well, Anaheim) librul who thinks that media consolidation is perhaps the single most serious issue underlying all the other issues we deal with, so I’m a bit suspicious of all the studios getting into bed together for these kind of things.

Short version: Bob the liberal is wary, but Bob the movie geek is intrigued. And, let’s face it, one way or another, this the direction we’re going in. I’d just like to see more flowers blooming.

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