Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed but it is believed to be a traditional premium TV pact rooted in a revenue sharing agreement.
The deal comes about six months after MGM acquired full control of Epix, which had previously been a partnership among MGM, Viacom and Lionsgate. Clearing the Comcast hurdle at long last with the nation’s largest cable operator is a coup for MGM chairman-CEO Gary Barber. It’s important as Epix is in the midst of ramping up its original content offerings and needs wider distribution to make that financially viable.
“Comcast’s Xfinity TV is one of the most innovative and powerful distribution platforms for entertainment content across the United States,” said Barber. “As we increase our investment in original series, expand content offerings and commit more resources to developing Epix’s brand and appeal, we are excited to partner with Comcast and bring Epix’s suite of premium content to their customers.”
It’s no secret that the previous regime at Viacom was a big part of the roadblock for Epix in reaching a deal with Comcast. Relations between Comcast and Viacom under the leadership of former CEO Philippe Dauman were tense. Viacom had responsibility for handling distribution negotiations for Epix under the terms of the joint venture. As soon as Dauman was ousted in August 2016, Epix executives stepped up their efforts to re-engage with Comcast. After MGM acquired full control of Epix, getting a Comcast deal done was the top priority for Barber.
Satcaster DirecTV is now the last major distributor that does not offer Epix. It’s understood that conversations with DirecTV have been sporadic over the years but will now become a priority.
(Pictured: Epix original drama series “Berlin Station”)