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Summary:

Epix, the new premium channel from Viacom, its Paramount Pictures unit, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Lionsgate, has upped its commitment to online content by promising to deliver 3,000 movies to subscribers through EpixHD.com. Epix Megaplex, which will be a web option available to Epix’s distributors, will include many […]

Epix, the new premium channel from Viacom, its Paramount Pictures unit, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Lionsgate, has upped its commitment to online content by promising to deliver 3,000 movies to subscribers through EpixHD.com.

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Epix Megaplex, which will be a web option available to Epix’s distributors, will include many films which have never before been digitized, including selections of crime dramas, mob movies and musicals.

Epix Chief Digital Officer Emil Rensing contended in a phone interview last week that the collection will be the largest HD film library online, and that combining it with the company’s already announced selection of new releases would give the service a better online movie offering than anyone else, including Netflix. Netflix does have 17,000 titles, so we might have to ding him for hyperbole, but Rensing countered that Netflix inflates its library by counting every TV episode as an individual title.

All along, Epix has claimed its web component will match its TV channel, but Megaplex will in fact give web users access to far more than could ever be aired on TV. However, distributors may opt not to make Megaplex part of their Epix offering, and indeed the service’s sole announced distributor, Verizon, has not yet signed on to make Megaplex available for its FiOS customers, said Rensing.

Rensing said Megaplex would launch in the first quarter of 2010, and have at least 3,000 titles by the second quarter. The next step for the online service will be developing recommendations, collaborative filtering and other methods for parsing all the choices.

Updated: We erroneously called the Megaplex product “Multiplex” in an earlier version of this post.

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  1. If Epix is trying to take on Netflix, then their focus is in the wrong place. There have been plenty of digital download services that have failed (including ones that were formerly backed by major studios.) They may end up refining the experience from the early CinemaNow downloads, but 3,000 movies is nothing compared to the 100K+ selection you can get at Netflix.

    Without being able to offer ANY movie ever created, how are they even in the same league as Netflix? Epix will struggle with the same problem that all of the other download services have. How do they keep their suppliers (aka investors) honest? If a studio wants to sell their content for $10 to Amazon subscribers, why are they going to give it to Epix for any less? Since Netflix can still offer the title on DVD, it limits how much the stuidos can extract and still take away that same choice.

    The result is that Netflix gets older outdated content, but because of their data centric model, they still get films that most of their subscribers want to see. With a selection of the 3,000 films, how does Epix replicate the same experience? Without the first sale doctrine, how do they tell their investors to kick rocks when they offer terms that don’t allow them to grow and expand in the same way?

    I don’t care if their films have never been digitized, if it’s not relevant to my interests. There may be an advantage of trying to position themselves as an us vs. the market leader, but Epix doesn’t deserve the hype you’re giving them, for something that’s still not even available to the public.

  2. I can’t wait. I’ve been looking for good movies on the internet that are newer ‘awesomer’ titles like Iron Man.

  3. Netflix has 17,000 viewable online as mentioned in the article, not 100k+ titles. Epix is not trying to replicate, they’re trying to do something new. It’s more in direct competition with netflix view instantly, rather then netflix as a whole. They also promise to add on features like their private viewing room (ie: mystery science theater 3000, http://mashable.com/2009/06/08/epix/). I think It’s a different monster entirely and has it’s own place on the web rather than “just another movie site.”

  4. In the article, Rensing himself accuses Netflix of “inflating” their numbers, but by trying to position Epix as a rival, he’s the one that’s inflating the service. Epix isn’t a different monster, it’s about a couple of movie studios trying to create their own version of Hulu by colluding against consumers. The 100k+ choice vs. 17k digital very much matters because most consumers don’t subscribe to Netflix for the watch now and get the DVDs as a bonus, they are subscribing for the DVDs because the first sale doctrine allows DVD companies to offer everything to consumers whether the studios like it or not.

    When Hulu started to get popular on Boxee, they were forced to pull service because of pressure from their investors. Do consumers really want the movie studios in control of their viewing experience or a company who is neutral and able to work with everyone. When you look at how Epix has set up their service, it’s clear that it’s all about trying to dictate to consumers not giving them what they want. The limit titles may be a restrictions of the digital age, but limiting it’s choice to a few select TV subscribers doesn’t make any sense. Anyone in America can subscribe to Netflix, anyone who happens to subscribe to the right package on the right telephone provider can get Epix. How are these even rivals, it’s like the Yankees taking on a little league team.

    What Epix is trying to do is what’s been broken with the digital industry for a long time. For years, we haven’t been given content because the TV channels buy “exclusives” and then try and force consumers to subscribe to expensive bundles for a few hot movies like Iron Man. Now they are taking it online, but using the same tactics. No thanks, I want to live in a world where anything and everything is available to the best company that can package it for consumers. It’s not about who gets the exclusive to me, it’s who offers the most choice and until we come up with a first sale doctrine alternative for the digital age, I’ll stick to a digital/physical hybrid that can offer me just about any movie that ever been created.

  5. Epix to roll out 3,000 HD movies online: You’ll probably never see them | Social Nibble Monday, September 21, 2009

    [...] Epix is a new premium TV channel that’s a partnership between Viacom, Paramount, MGM, and Lionsgate. Today the company is announcing that Verizon is the first distributor to sign the channel, which means that Verizon customers will be able to watch thousands of movies in the channel’s library. Now here’s where it gets interesting: Epix isn’t just a TV channel. As part of its offering, the group is also beta testing a web-based video service where users can stream thousands of titles. And today Epix announced it would be adding 3,000 HD videos to the lineup. [...]

  6. Epix to roll out 3,000 HD movies online: You’ll probably never see them | Technology you can trust here… Monday, September 21, 2009

    [...] Epix is a new premium TV channel that’s a partnership between Viacom, Paramount, MGM, and Lionsgate. Today the company is announcing that Verizon is the first distributor to sign the channel, which means that Verizon customers will be able to watch thousands of movies in the channel’s library. Now here’s where it gets interesting: Epix isn’t just a TV channel. As part of its offering, the group is also beta testing a web-based video service where users can stream thousands of titles. And today Epix announced it would be adding 3,000 HD videos to the lineup. [...]

  7. Just a note, in the source code on their home page, it has a bunch of Binary… (0’s and 1’s). It translates to:

    We’re no strangers to love
    You know the rules, and so do I

    (01010111011001010010011101110010
    01100101001000000110111001101111
    00100000011100110111010001110010
    01100001011011100110011101100101
    01110010011100110010000001110100
    01101111001000000110110001101111
    01110110011001010000110100001010
    01011001011011110111010100100000
    01101011011011100110111101110111
    00100000011101000110100001100101
    00100000011100100111010101101100
    01100101011100110010110000100000
    01100001011011100110010000100000
    01110011011011110010000001100100
    011011110010000001001001
    )

    Weird, huh?

    1. Which, just an FYI, is the first lines to the famous “Rick roll”

      1. I think that translates to: “We are more savvy than CinemaNow. Really!”

  8. Well, that’s great, we’ll have another sourse to watch movies onlines. :) I watch movies online all the time and also capture them on my pc, free and legal. Here are some nice steps for getting free movies: http://audials.com/en/blog/article/34/3-ways-to-legally-download-movies-and-videos-from-the-internet.html

  9. Epix Picks a Launch Date Tuesday, October 13, 2009

    [...] offering from the get-go. The company recently announced that it will deliver 3,000 movies to its Epix Megaplex at EpixHD.com in the first quarter of [...]

  10. Epix Lands Dish Deal, Will Reach 30M Homes Monday, April 19, 2010

    [...] offering. But the big differentiator for Epix is its online component: The programmer has an online component that enables subscribers to view up to 3,000 movies online at EpixHD.com as part of their [...]

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