Amazon to Rename Epix Linear, Streaming Services as ‘MGM+’ in 2023
Adding MGM's library of over 4,000 films and 17,000 hours of television was a big get for Amazon. At a price tag of $8.5 billion, Amazon was not just buying content, but also the goodwill and high reputation of MGM’s brand.
Now, Amazon is taking advantage of that brand. The company announced today that it would be renaming linear channel and streaming service Epix — which it acquired as part of the MGM deal — as MGM+ in early next year.
“MGM is one of the most iconic and beloved brands from the golden age of entertainment,” said Michael Wright, head of MGM+. “This rebrand is a promise to existing and new viewers that MGM Plus is the place to find television that reflects and celebrates the legacy of the iconic MGM brand - cinematic programming with sophisticated storytelling that entertains, delights, surprises, and transports. MGM is television for movie lovers.”
The name may not be the most original, but it does immediately convey what Amazon and MGM+ want people to think of the newly rebranded Epix, that it is a streaming-first service with linear components.
“We live in a hybrid space; we are a linear service as well as a digital service,” said Wright. “We have felt for some time that this is the best service that many people have never heard of. Other than individual shows, the service has never been marketed. Now you have this incredibly powerful, loud name that means something to people. You could spend five years and $100 million trying to launch a new brand, and you wouldn’t have the brand equity that you get with MGM. It’s really something of a gift.”
According to reporting from NextTV, the re-naming will become official on Jan. 15, 2023. Epix announced that MGM+ will continue to be available in the U.S. on Prime Video, cable, satellite, and digital distribution services. Epix’s over-the-top (OTT) streaming service EPIX NOW will also be folded into the new MGM+. [Epix 2] will become MGM+ Hits, Epix Hits will become MGM+ Marquee and Epix Drive-In will be rebranded MGM+ Drive In, according to NextTV.
The new MGM+ will remain a linear channel, but perhaps not for long. Amazon has already taken steps to pare down MGM’s linear presence, as it is believed that as of Oct. 31 [MGM HD] will be shutting down. The announcement was originally put on the channel’s Facebook page, and has since been removed. However, if the channel is shut down on Halloween, it could be a foreboding omen for the rest of MGM’s linear offerings.