“At the time acquired Epix from our joint-venture partners three things were true: it was under-distributed, it was under-subscribed and it was under- monetized,” Chief Operating Officer Chris Brearton old investors during MGM’s first quarter investor call. “It also lacked strong original programming to compete with other premium pay television networks and SVOD platforms.”
MGM is working to enhance the service’s program offerings, and expand its distribution beyond 50% of U.S. households, striking a deal with Comcast that in the coming months will make Epix available to its 22 million pay TV subscribers. These efforts were a highlight of the March quarter earnings call, in which MGM reported a net income of $1 million on revenue of $271.5 million.
Brearton said Epix will premiere an eight-episode espionage series Deep State next month, followed by the season of Get Shorty from MGM Television and a new competition boxing show from Mark Burnett, The Contender.
The 2019 slate includes the newly acquired Batman prequel Pennyworth from Gotham showrunner Bruno Heller, executive producer/director Danny Cannon and Warner Horizon Scripted TV. The series is based on DC characters created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger, Pennyworth follows Bruce Wayne’s legendary butler, Alfred Pennyworth.
MGM also is prepping a 10-episode gangster crime drama, The Godfather of Harlem, starring Forrest Whitaker, for Epix, and is in development on the scripted series Shook Up, which is inspired by the true story of a group of women who rise to power in the streets of mob-ruled Hell’s Kitchen in the 1950s.
By next year, Epix is projected to have 50-60 hours of original scripted content and 70 to 80 hours of unscripted fare, in addition to its first run theatrical and library film content, Brearton said.
“We believe that we are now on track to create a very compelling subscription-content platform that will drive that will drive meaningful EBITA growth as we further expand Epix’s distribution footprint,” Brearton said.