Back when I started writing about cable programming, if a wannabe network couldn’t get distribution on cable, it tried satellite in the hopes that would put pressure on cable or at least give the network a way to move off paper and into some homes. If it couldn’t get satellite, it was stuck. Now, despite cable company consolidation, programmers have more places to turn, most notably telecom video services U-Verse from AT&T (NYSE: T) and FiOS from Verizon (NYSE: VZ), and, with more users gaining broadband access, the internet. That would explain a press conference at the annual NATPE show in Las Vegas Tuesday to announce that Studio 3 Networks, the high-profile premium movie JV from Viacom (NYSE: VIA), Paramount, MGM and Lionsgate announced last year, will start on broadband. The channel will be branded epix and is slated for a May broadband launch and a Q4 cable launch. Broadband was part of the equation all along; knowing that it could launch online first allows the JV to move ahead without agreements from Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA) or the others. The pricing wasn’t announced.
– Film library: Launch films include some of the top current films, among them The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. It also has to all 17 re-mastered James Bond movies as well as the Raiders of the Lost Ark series.
– epix: Linda Haugsted reports that ending the name in “x” is supposed to signify cross-platform ambitions.