Now that “Epix” — the new HBO killer from Viacom, MGM, and Lions Gate — has a name, it’s time to work out distribution deals. The company says it’s working on cable deals — “some better than others” — and will launch a premium streaming service on the Web in May.
Will Netflix — which has some 9.4 million subscribers, of which “millions” are watching streaming movies — be a part of its distribution network?
Last October, Netflix signed a deal with Starz, which brought movies from Disney (DIS) and some Sony (SNE) titles to its streaming service — including relatively popular movies like “Superbad” and “No Country For Old Men.”
Those were an improvement over much of Netflix’s other streaming content, which tends to be older, more obscure “catalogue” movies and TV shows. A similar deal with Epix could potentially bring more hits like “Iron Man” or the recent “Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”
We understand that Netflix is in talks with Epix as well as other networks and studios.
But we don’t know if that means a deal is imminent. Or if Epix would want to be seen near Netflix before it signs deals with cable companies, whose video-on-demand services increasingly compete with Netflix and Apple’s (AAPL) iTunes.
Netflix (NFLX) CEO Reed Hastings said on the company’s earnings call this week that the company will “substantially increase” its spending on streaming content this year. “Our spending is limited only by what content is available at reasonable prices and what we can afford in total given our earnings goals,” he said.”