Now things are getting interesting. Epix – the premium cable network that launched with an online, on-demand video component — is making that service available through a number of new mobile and connected devices. This follows a trend of pay TV operators and cable networks taking their online offerings direct to consumers on as many devices as possible.
Epix was one of the first cable networks to offer authenticated access to an on-demand streaming library. In a sense, it embraced TV Everywhere before TV Everywhere even had a name. Now it’s taking the logical next step in that TV Everywhere concept, by making its online service available on a wide variety of tablets, connected TVs and Blu-ray players and broadband set-top boxes.
The cable network — formed as a joint partnership between Paramount, Lionsgate and MGM and carrying films from all those studio — announced it will have apps for download on more than 100 different devices, including the Blackberry PlayBook, connected TVs and Blu-ray players from Samsung, Google TV devices, Roku broadband set-top boxes and Android tablets from Motorola, HTC and LG. And while an iPad app won’t be available at launch, a spokesperson says that one has been submitted and is awaiting approval from the Apple App Store.
The first distributor to take advantage of the service will be Verizon, which will give authenticated access for the service to FiOS customers who subscribe to the network. That will make more than 3,000 Epix on-demand film titles available to subscribers that have logged in to the service through any of the new apps. Other distributors are likely to soon follow, as the network is also available to Dish Network, Cox, Charter and Mediacom subscribers, among others.
Of course, the new apps aren’t the only way to get Epix content online and on new devices: The company struck a deal last year to make its streaming library available to Netflix subscribers. And Netflix’s streaming subscription service is available on more than 250 connected devices, including connected TVs and Blu-ray players from most big consumer electronics manufacturers, iOS and Windows Phone 7 mobile devices and all the major gaming consoles. But Epix no doubt wants its own brand front and center, so rolling out its own apps is a smart move for the network.
Epix isn’t alone in building apps for connected devices: HBO is expected to launch its streaming iPad and Android apps on May 2, and ESPN has a live streaming app available in some markets as well. In addition, a number of pay TV operators have either already come to market or will soon roll out mobile and TV apps of their own. Comcast has already rolled out its Xfinity TV app, with access to on-demand content from a number of cable networks. Meanwhile, Time Warner Cable and Cablevision are taking a different tack by introducing iPad apps that make linear streams of cable content available to subscribers.