Deal is pay TV venture's first with outside producer
Epix — the pay TV venture backed by Viacom, MGM and Lionsgate — has signed a distribution agreement with Samuel Goldwyn Co. for all Epix platforms covering up to 20 of Goldwyn’s films slated for theatrical release in 2010 and 2011.The movie output pact is Epix’s first with a producer not owned by one of the venture’s partners. Announcement was made Wednesday by Mark Greenberg, prexy-CEO of Epix, and Meyer Gottlieb, president and chief operating officer of Goldwyn. Greenberg told Daily Variety that he’s expecting to announce similar output arrangements before Epix launches in October. “Movies are what consumers want to watch on television, on demand, on their computers and on their mobile devices,” he said. “Epix is the only service available today which will be able to meet that consumer demand — anytime, anywhere and on any platform.” Goldwyn’s 2010 slate includes “The Yellow Handkerchief,” produced by Arthur Cohn and starring William Hurt, Maria Bello, Kristen Stewart and Eddie Redmayne. The company said its remaining 2010 and 2011 slate will be announced shortly. The announcement comes a week after Epix unveiled its first carriage agreement, with Verizon’s FiOS telco-delivered TV service, which would make the feevee channel available to FiOS’ subscriber base of about 2.5 million. But questions have persisted about the venture’s viability with Comcast and Cablevision going on record last month with Bloomberg News saying they had no interest in carrying the channel. Epix was formed in April 2008 after Viacom hit a wall in renegotiating Paramount’s pay TV pact with Showtime. It will be the exclusive pay TV home of recent pics from its three partners, so titles available at launch will include “Iron Man,” “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “Cloverfield” and the Lionsgate-distribbed Tyler Perry pics. Epix will have access to a 15,000-title film library from its three major partners. It’s also touting access to series, music and comedy specials across multiple platforms.