Premium Programming Service, Epix, in Multiplatform Carriage Deal with Verizon

--Service to Offer a Range of DVD-Like Extras, "Virtual Channels"

Epix--a multiplatform subscription-based premium programming service which is a joint venture between Viacom, its Paramount Pictures arm, MGM and Lionsgate and which will have exclusive access to Paramount, Paramount Vantage MTV and Nickelodeon movies released theatrically on or after January 1st, 2008, and to MGM, United Artists and Lionsgate titles released theatrically on or after January 1st, 2009 (note: the venture, which says that it will offer "interactivity that will significantly enhance the entertainment experience," claims that it will have access to over 15,000 movies, as well as new, original TV series and live event programming)--announced its first carriage deal Tuesday: with Verizon.

According to Epix, the deal will make its programming available in SD and HD on Verizon's FiOS TV linear TV and VOD platforms, as well as on its broadband and wireless platforms. The company says that the VOD and broadband implementations of its service will provide customers with a range of DVD-like interactive features, including directors' script notes, outtakes, auditions, trivia and games; customers will also be able to program their own "virtual channels," Epix president, Mark Greenberg, told Variety Tuesday. In the coming weeks, the company says, Verizon will provide FiOS TV customers with a preview of its Epix On Demand (located at channel 900 of the FiOS TV EPG) and (accessed by inputting one's FiOS TV account information) services. "EPIX is a unique brand that we look forward to offering our customers on multiple platforms, with exclusive programming and movie content that isn't available anywhere else," Terry Denson, Verizon's VP of content strategy and acquisition, said in a prepared statement. "Once again, we're giving our subscribers the content they want, when they want it and where they want it--whether on FiOS TV, FiOS Internet or on a Verizon Wireless mobile device--making Verizon a one-stop destination for consumers' overall video entertainment." Added Epix president, Greenberg: "Verizon and Epix share a common goal: entertain America anytime, anywhere, making this an ideal partnership. Both brands understand that today's consumers want interaction and access to exclusive content--and the option of doing it all under one roof. Together, we can provide a unique experience that no other brand is delivering. Epix will build upon Verizon's longstanding commitment to leadership in technology and providing subscribers with the most exciting entertainment experience available."

Epix content slated for availability to FiOS TV customers at launch, according to the company, includes Paramount's release of Lucasfilms' "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" and the studio's "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and "Cloverfield"; MGM's "Pink Panther 2"; and Lionsgate's "My Bloody Valentine 3-D" and "The Saw." In addition, Epix says, it will have the rights to 17 re-mastered "James Bond" movies, "Raiders of the Lost Ark," "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" and "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade."

North America