MGM-owned television network Epix is jumping into the crowded streaming service market. The company announced at the Television Critics Association press tour that its new streaming service, EpixNow, is launching today with a large library of films and the channel’s original television shows.
The service is a spinoff from the premium cable channel, which launched in 2009 and currently counts 15 million subscribers. It costs $5.99 a month, and is now available for Apple and Google devices, and will soon be available for Roku and Amazon Fire TV users. Users will also be able to download programming and stream video to connected devices.
While the channel is owned by MGM, it’s not a streaming service that covers the larger studio. An Epix spokeswomen says 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 like Berlin Station, and Deep State available, rather than the larger back-catalog that MGM holds.
Epix’s spokeswoman tells The Verge that the company made the decision to launch now, because it has a “steady stream of content coming this year,” including its forthcoming Batman prequel Pennyworth, its just-announced adaptation of Slate’s podcast Slow Burn, and new seasons of its existing shows. And, the company is building out its catalog, according to Variety, which reports that MGM has been “ramping up” Epix’s original content offerings.
Epix and MGM face an increasingly-crowded marketplace when it comes to streaming services. The entry of yet another streaming platform feels like another nail in the preverbal coffin for the argument that it’s cheaper to ditch cable and consume all of your content via streaming services like Netflix of Hulu. As consumer behavior has changed in the face of expensive cable channel packages, major studios have wised up and the number of standalone platforms has increased accordingly.
As a consumer, you have plenty of choices to go with. Aside from the bigger mainstays like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, (and niche ones like DC Universe), companies like Apple, CBS, Disney, and WarnerMedia will launch their own major platforms this year while NBCUniversal will launch its own streaming platform in 2020. This also isn’t the first streaming platform from MGM: it launched Stargate Command in 2017, a dedicated platform that hosted content from the science fiction franchise. EpixNow does have some good things going for it: it does have a good selection of films that aren’t necessarily available on Netflix or Hulu. Whether or not that will be enough to attract new subscribers remains to be seen.