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In Today's OTT Landscape, Make the Right Partnerships: Video

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Troy Dreier: Hi, this is Troy Dreier coming to you from Streaming Media East 2016 in New York City. I'm pleased to be talking to some of the thought leaders in our industry during the event, and I'm joined right now by Amit Ziv, head of business development at Epix.

Amit Ziv: Thanks for having me, Troy.

Troy Dreier: You are speaking at a panel later today on the great bundling and mass re-bundling and changes taking place in the pay TV industry, how to succeed with new platforms, which is something Epix knows very well. Tell us what's going on with Epix.

Amit Ziv: Sure, we believe it's a great time to be in the subscription business. The DNA of Epix as a venture was all about multi-platform rights. That's why Paramount, Lionsgate and MGM launched Epix back in 2009, 2010. There is an explosion of new subscription services that are launching both within the MVPD ecosystem and outside, vis-à-vis the OTT ecosystem which includes virtual MVPDs or SVOD services, or some combination of the two. Epix is primed to capitalize on that growth, we have exclusive rights to all the first run movies from Paramount, Lionsgate. and MGM, plus we're launching our first two original scripted series this fall. All of these services, both the incumbents and the new entrants, are going to compete on content. They don't want to compete on price, nobody does. That results in margin compression.

In order to really drive subscriber acquisition and retention it is critical as part of their content strategy to have access to these first run movies, so we looking forward to the growth ahead.

Troy Dreier: How important is it to be on multiple platforms and to be on the latest ways the viewers are trying to connect?

Amit Ziv: I think it's about being on the right platforms. You want to partner with a distributor that has scale, you want to partner with a distributor that is a savvy marketer, and acquire subscribers. The last thing you want to do is do a deal with a national distributor that just shows no growth on the subscriber end and isn't a savvy marketer. We like to be strategic in the deals we do, we believe we have done that to date, we have a lot of great partners both in MVPDs and OTT landscape, and it is about being selective.

Troy Dreier: Where is your company going? What are the next deals you're looking at making, your next platforms you want to be on?

Amit Ziv: For us what's important is to partner with MVPDs and really help them super-serve new audiences. It's really about helping them grow beyond multi-channel video households. We are growing, we've grown by over 50% this year in MVPD households, but as new MVPDs and existing MVPDs launch new broadband only subscriptions or OTT services out of footprint, we really are focused on helping them drive that growth.

Troy Dreier: I want to hear a little bit more about the original content. This is the first time you guys have done this, right?

Amit Ziv: It is the first time we'll go to market, two amazing scripted series, one coming out of Paramount called Berlin Station, another one coming out of Lionsgate, who is a prolific producer as well in television, called Graves. Graves is a series starring Nick Nolte. It is about a Republican president 20 or 30 years after his presidency who now is having an epiphany and will right the wrongs of his presidency, so it's very timely. Berlin Station is a whodunit spy thriller that shoots in Berlin, really excited, incredible cast and incredible production crew actually, Anonymous Content the production house behind Mr. Robot and The Revenant, is an executive producer on this series.

We're really excited about it, and more importantly on the marketing front we'll be in market with the biggest brand investment we've ever had in the history of the network. Between July and October, Epix will be everywhere.

Troy Dreier: When do these shows debut?

Amit Ziv: In October.

Troy Dreier: Will they be available for bingeing at all once?

Amit Ziv: The programming strategy has not been disclosed yet.

Troy Dreier: Oh, I hope it's all at once.

Amit Ziv: Yes.

Troy Dreier: It sounds very bingeable.

Amit Ziv: Absolutely.

Troy Dreier: Well, thank you for joining me Amit, it's been a pleasure. This is Troy Dreier coming to you from Streaming Media East.

Amit Ziv: Thank you, Troy.

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