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Epix’s eye on basics

Dish Network to launch vintage pix channel

Epix is expanding into the basic service realm with the launch of a vintage pix channel dubbed “The 3 from Epix.”

Dish Network will carry the commercial-free channel as part of its basic America’s top 250 programming package. It will primarily feature titles from the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s from the vaults of Epix’s partner studios, Paramount, Lionsgate and MGM.

The service is designed to help Epix expand its movie offerings with satcasters, which don’t have the wherewithal to offer the volume of video-on-demand titles that cabler operators can. Epix’s pay TV service is carried by Dish Network, which boasts about 14.3 million subscribers, but it has yet to be picked up by the nation’s largest satcaster, DirecTV, with about 19 million subs.

Since its October launch, Epix’s pay TV service has drawn about 4 million subscribers, according to industry sources. It’s available for purchase in about 30 million cable and satellite TV homes — but the venture has yet to crack the big three operators, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and DirecTV.

The 3 channel will also help get the Epix brand name out to Dish subscribers who may not be aware that there’s a new pay TV outlet available alongside HBO, Showtime and Starz. The 3 will be made available to other operators, but it would seem to be a tough sell at a time when cable operators are highly selective in adding new basic channels.

The 3 will feature themed programming blocks, such as teen comedies from the 1980s, latenight movie faves and chopsocky fare. The original trailers for many of the pics will be included.

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