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Cord-cutting fever is on an all-time high thanks to the rise of streaming services. Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are leading the streaming charts whereas HBO and Hulu are following suit. Developers know the potential of streaming services and thus there’s a large influx of traditional channels wanting to extend their reach via a digital platform of their own.
EPIX – a premium TV channel owned by MGM is the latest to enter the digital fray. It already has its set-top box and mobile apps, however, with EPIX NOW, it is making the majority of its content and Live TV available online through a subscription-based model.
Diversifying is the key to sustainability
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) identifies Epix Now as a crucial platform that can help expand its reach. It wants to cater to the young audience leaning towards the streaming services as opposed to traditional Pay-TV or Satellite TV connection. Epix which in itself is a premium service was earlier available only as either cable or satellite upgrade. These days it has its own online presence and is often bundled with other streaming TV platforms such as PlayStation Vue to Sling TV.
Viewers don’t mind paying the direct source
The majority of the viewership can be bifurcated into Cable TV, Satellite Network or streaming service. Having said that, it’s not necessary that viewers will hold themselves back over these services. I’ve seen Epix accumulate 15 million monthly subscribers on their website which is a sign that viewers are willing to go to the source for the content they want, bypassing any of the three viewing options.
EPIX – a premium network by MGM was launched in 2009 with the intention of providing the best access to its users. It was a joint venture between the four biggest studios including Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios (MGM), Viacom Inc., Lionsgate, and Paramount Pictures. These major studios joined hands to provide an original programming channel along with premium services. We’ve seen Disney as part of a similar venture with its ‘Movies Anywhere’ platform. Epix is available throughout the United States in over 55 million homes. Its services are distributed across the world via cable, satellite, mobile phones, telco partners, connected TV devices and streaming services. It was also one of the very few premium networks to be made available via website and gaming consoles.
When I talk about design, I’d like to discuss Epix Now, because that’s the streaming service we want to talk about. Before that, if you want to know my opinion on Epix’s website, here it goes – Simple, intuitive and straight to the point. The gold and black color scheme complemented with white text are present on both the websites.
You have four options in the Menu – Originals, Movies, Collection, Schedule on the left. Add Devices, Get Epix and Log In on the right. If you navigate through the page, you’ll see three main options – ‘Watch with TV provider’, ‘Watch with Digital Provider’, ‘Watch with App’. That’s it.
Talking about Epix Now, it’s quite similar to Epix’s main website. A ‘Get Epix’ option on the left and ‘Log in’ option on the right. A clear banner featuring six stars from its top shows and big call out button which says “Start My 7-Day Free trial’’. If you scroll down, you’ll find compatibility options that act as a filler before the footer.
Epix Now offers the same content you’d find on Epix except it makes the content digital. While the traditional website asks you to link through either of the three services, Epix Now allows you to log in and start streaming directly. In regards to content, there’s a huge difference between the two services as Epix Now has its own originals apart from hundreds of movies and TV Shows.
The extensive content library includes classic films, latest movie releases, comedy and music events, original documentaries and on-demand services. Sure, Epix Now doesn’t feel quite exclusive because of Epix’s premium nature but it offers content and movies available from other studios that I mentioned above.
You can find blockbuster movies such as ‘Arrival’, ‘Star Trek’, ‘A Quiet Place’, ‘Annihilation’, ‘The Magnificent Seven’ and Originals such as ‘Godfather of Harlem’, ‘Pennyworth’, ‘Get Shorty’, ‘Perpetual Grace, LTD’, ‘Berlin Station’ and ‘Deep State’ to name a few. Epix as a platform is expanding its reach in terms of Original content creation which is helping it withstand competition from streaming giants.
Premiere content makes it worth it
Epix allows you to watch new episodes as they premiere. You can enjoy 1000+ movie titles and go behind the scenes of your favorite TV shows to see interviews with cast and other original content. Additionally, the library is well-curated to meet your viewing needs. Discovering movies and shows is super easy and you can even use advanced search to find the title you’ve been looking for.
Slight hiccup can leave a sour taste
Amidst all the benefits lies a disadvantage which comes with a movie title being unavailable even after you’re a member. I get annoyed when I can’t watch a movie or a TV show because of licensing rights. Many a time when there are licensing issues among those companies, a movie becomes unavailable and all you can access is ‘behind the scene clips, trailers, and interviews.’
Epix Now as mentioned earlier allows viewers to download TV shows and movies for offline viewing. Apart from that, you can also stream four live channels on compatible TV devices. These channels include Epix, Epix 2, Epix Drive-in and Epix Hits. I’ve viewed these channels on my iPad and I was quite satisfied with the experience. When I’m on the road, I like to watch movies with uninterrupted internet connection thus the offline feature helps a lot.
So far, I’ve been able to stream content including 4K Ultra HD content from Epix Now app. I’ve also been able to stream it on my TV screen and have been able to download it offline. Add to the fact that the service is compatible with my iPad, iPhone, and Apple TV – it makes the viewing experience much more versatile. As far as the streaming devices go, you can enjoy Epix Now on a multitude of viewing platforms such as PlayStation, Xbox, Android phones and tablets, Android TV, Apple iPhones, iPads and TV, Roku Players and Chromecast.
Watch with Friends
You might have seen a similar feature on Facebook called ‘Watch Party’. Having this feature in a video streaming app is simply amazing. I often use the ‘Watch with friends’ feature on the EPIX app which allows streaming with friends in a private room. You can see it in the same light as a chat room.
How does that work?
There’s a separate screening room created with a unique link that can be shared with up to four friends. Thus, even when you’re far away from your friends, you can still enjoy the viewing experience as if you are together. I have a group of three friends with whom I stream “Godfather of Harlem’’ and we love the experience. We can play, pause and even talk throughout the TV show or movie.
Plans & Pricing
If you’re new to the channel, you can download Epix Now and start your free trial. Once that is complete, you need to pay $5.99/per month to get instant access to its content library. What I want you to know is that you need to cancel your subscription if you don’t want to continue. Thus, if you feel that it’s not satiating your content needs, cancel it before the free trial period ends.
Suggestions I have for EPIX
I like Epix Now and the simplicity around it. However, there are many areas in which it can improve. When I compare it to Hulu, I see that the content can still improve a lot. I’d like to appreciate the Originals and would love to see the studios churn out more of them in the future.
EPIX is a premium TV channel that viewers can subscribe to if they want access to an extensive content library. EPIX is not meant for those who want to stream television shows as it’s mostly movie laden. Personally, the six shows that I mentioned above have justified the $5.99/per month I’ve been paying for the last 7 months.