Verizon Service Taking Orders For New Movie Service Monday

Verizon's FiOS TV will charge $9.99 per month for Epix, the premium movie service, starting Monday after a free preview weekend.

Verizon announced the pricing in a blog post. Previously, including recently, Epix's only affiliate had said merely that it would be positioned as a premium service.

A joint venture of Paramount Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Lionsgate, which decided to shift their product to a new channel after output deals with Showtime expired, Epix will be seen on FiOS TV Friday night through the end of Sunday for free on its regular locations: standard-definition channel 395 and high-definition channel 895, Verizon said. Iron Man (pictured) is among the content slated to air this weekend.

A subscription to Epix also includes access to its Web site, where movie content will be streamed.

Pali Research analyst Rich Greenfield, in a note to clients Thursday, said he estimates Verizon is paying a $1 monthly fee to Epix for each of 2.7 million FiOS TV subscribers. At that rate, FiOS would need to sign up 270,000 Epix subscribers paying $9.99 per month to break even. That won't be easy: Epix is a newcomer with no original programming as yet. HBO has achieved 30% penetration and Showtime is at 17% penetration, by contrast, Greenfield said in the note. FiOS TV charges $16 per month for HBO and $14.99 per month for Showtime, Starz and Sundance bundled, according to Greenfield.

Epix CEO Mark GreenbergDish Network, according to reports and speculation, could be the next Epix affiliate. Epix CEO Mark Greenberg (left) has said talks are ongoing with most major multichannel TV distributors, and downplayed negative comments about Epix from executives at DirecTV, Comcast and Cablevision.