EPIX heads for Hulu as Netflix distribution deal winds down



| 31 August 2015

On the face of it, a distribution deal is ending, in reality the tectonic plates in the over-the-top (OTT) and subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) markets are showing signs of shifting as the EPIX premium entertainment network lands on Hulu.

Over the last two years or so, Hulu has been overshadowed by rivals, not least SVOD leader Netflix, and even Amazon. The new deal represents a significant expansion in Hulu's film offering and builds on similar deals such as being home to a number of films from the IFC Films collection through its deal with AMC Networks, and becoming the first ever streaming service to offer a premium add-on through its platform with its distribution deal with SHOWTIME. Hulu is also the exclusive streaming home to hundreds of classic, award-winning films from The Criterion Collection.

EPIX will now bring to Hulu new releases from Lionsgate, MGM and Paramount to the joint venture OTT service Hulu for the first time beginning 1 October as a similar deal with Netflix has not been renewed. Hulu will now be able to show films such as Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation, Interstellar, Selma, Top Five and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, which have never before been available on a streaming SVOD service.

"Hulu already offers some of the best and biggest titles in television programming, but our subscribers have been asking us for more, and more recent, big movies. We listened. Through this new deal with EPIX, we are proud to now be able to offer a huge selection of the biggest blockbusters and premium films," said Craig Erwich, the company's SVP, head of content. "This is a landmark deal for Hulu and it marks a huge expansion for our offering of premium programming."

"Hulu has become one of the most popular premium streaming services, and EPIX's agreement is evidence of their understanding of the value that our blockbuster Hollywood films, deep library of classic film titles and original programming brings to consumers," added EPIX president and CEO Mark Greenberg. "We are excited to be partnering with Hulu, and share their commitment to providing viewers a truly premium experience, particularly as we enter the next phase of our network's growth and development."

For its part, Netflix shrugged off losing EPIX by promising to redouble its efforts in original content. Remarked Netflix chief content officer, Ted Sarandos: "We know some of you will be disappointed by the expiration of the Epix movies. Our goal is to provide great movies and TV series for all tastes that are only available on Netflix ... It will take us time to build a robust slate of original movies, but we're hard at work on it ... Through our original films and some innovative licensing arrangements with the movie studios, we are aiming to build a better movie experience for you."