Epix in Social TV Partnership with ClipSync

Epix--a multiplatform subscription-based premium programming service which is a joint venture between Viacom, its Paramount Pictures arm, MGM and Lionsgate and which has 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 service is currently available only on Verizon FiOS TV and online)--on Tuesday announced the launch of a social/interactive TV service on its Web site, EpixHD.com. The company bills the new service, which it developed in partnership with San Francisco-based social TV company, ClipSync (note: for some background on ClipSync, see the articles published on itvt.com, August 3rd and July 14th), as delivering "the first social viewing experience of feature-length films."

At launch, the new service allows EpixHD.com users to chat with one another while watching movies. In the coming months, Epix says, it will also allow users to launch live movie groups and participate in special events for specific films, which the company says "may feature online interaction with the stars" of those films. In addition, the company says, users will eventually be able to use ClipSync's technology to interact around live events, director's cuts, deleted scenes, special screenings, interviews and premieres. "ClipSync is bridging the gap between TV viewing and the way people socialize," ClipSync CEO, Itzik Cohen, said in a prepared statement. "In an era of immense online socializing and connecting with others, we're seamlessly fusing movie viewing with the viewers' online social interactions. Epix is breaking new ground by being the first to engage the feature-length film viewing audience online in a dynamic and truly social manner." Added Epix's chief digital officer, Emil Rensing: "Epix was created to engage and entertain consumers as no service has done before, and through ClipSync's technologies, we're moving one step closer to realizing this entertainment revolution. The platform we have created with ClipSync helps us empower viewers with greater participation in the overall entertainment experience. It enhances programming by making it interactive and more socially engaging by allowing our viewers to create, share, comment and react to content while they are simultaneously watching the video. This partnership is a key part of Epix's plan to embrace and lead the digital generation in an new era of media consumption."

According to Epix, its implementation of ClipSync's platform represents one of the first major production deployments of the dynamic streaming capabilities of Adobe's Flash Media Server 3.5 through the Akamai EdgePlatform.