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Epix Lands FiOS TV Carriage Deal

28 Jul, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel

The Epix HD pay-TV channel, a joint venture with Lionsgate, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Viacom-owned Paramount Studios, has signed a carriage deal with Verizon Communications’ fiber optic FiOS TV service starting Oct. 1.

Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman reported the deal in a July 28 financial call with investors.

The service last month unveiled a beta site designed to test a separate streaming component.

Epix, which also offers an online streaming option, is intended to compete with HBO, Showtime and Starz. Analysts have worried the upstart premium service could face difficulties launching in the current recession, with many cable operators reluctant to take on another pay-per-view service.

David Miller, analyst with Caris & Co., in Los Angeles, said once Epix is fully functional, it could offer significant competition to Netflix as aggregator of multiplatform streaming content.

He said that once a major cable operator is signed, other MSOs, including satellite, would sign on.

“That will be very interesting,” Miller said recently.

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