Epix has long been the baby of four studios (Lionsgate, MGM, Paramount and Viacom), but it’s about to have just one parent. MGM has bought out the stakes of its partners for just over $1 billion, giving it full control over the internet-friendly, movie-focused TV channel. The move will still see Lionsgate and Paramount supplying first-run movies as part of “multi-year” deals, so don’t panic about a sudden dearth of content — this is more about a changing media landscape than any kind of feud.
The acquisition should close later in April.
In unveiling the deal, Epix chief Mark Greenberg is quick to acknowledge that the “priorities have evolved” for some of its soon-to-be-ex partners. While he doesn’t go into detail, Lionsgate just bought Starz — why would it split its attention between two networks that accomplish similar goals, both online and off? Viacom, meanwhile, is backing away from offering its freshest content on streaming services as it worries about getting its finances back in order. You probably don’t have to worry about Epix’s long-term future, but don’t be surprised if you see a greater emphasis on MGM’s media offerings than before.