The TV Answer Man!

Will DIRECTV Add EPIX?

Q. Any chance that DIRECTV will add the Epix channel? It has a lot of cool movies. — Wayne, Fairfax, Virginia.

Wayne, I don’t believe DIRECTV has any immediate plans to add the Epix channel. In case you are not familiar with Epix, the movie channel is owned by a consortium of MGM, Lionsgate and Paramount. With the three studios behind it, it sometimes gets access to new movies earlier than other premium channels, such as Interstellar.

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In the last few years, DIRECTV executives have said they have little or no interest in Epix, adding that they feel they already carry a sufficient number of premium movie channels.

However, there are a few things that suggest that could change in the next year or so.

First, in 2014, AT&T, which became DIRECTV’s corporate parent in 2015, signed a deal with Epix to carry its entire four-channel suite, which includes Epix, Epix 2, Epix 3 and Epix Drive-In.

The telco did not reveal the terms of the agreement, such as when it’s scheduled to expire. But when it does end, it’s likely AT&T will then try to negotiate a carriage agreement for both AT&T’s UVerse service and DIRECTV. AT&T executives have said they eventually want its UVerse service and DIRECTV service to have the same lineups.

So, when could that happen? Many carriage deals last just three years so it’s quite possible that the AT&T-Epix agreement will come up for renewal next year. (It’s also not inconceivable that AT&T will try to negotiate dual carriage before the current pact is scheduled to expire because it’s anxious to streamline the lineups for its two TV services.)

Second, in the last few years, more TV providers have added Epix, including Net TV services, Sling TV and Sony’s Play Station Vue. DIRECTV’s current decision not to carry Epix puts it at a slight competitive disadvantage with movie fans, or at least, fans of Epix’s movie lineup.

So, bottom line: Don’t expect DIRECTV to add Epix anytime soon, but I would bet it’s coming in the next year or so.

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