EPIX Continues to Boom After 3 Years with Michael Wright
August 6, 2020
Michael Wright joined the EPIX team as President in 2017 shortly after MGM’s acquisition of the premium TV network. Under his guidance, EPIX’s linear distribution, SVOD subscribers, and inventory of original programming have continued to grow.
“At the risk of sounding like a cliched football coach, I would describe myself as pleased but not satisfied,” Wright says. “Less than two years ago, we were only available in about 40 million homes and had a handful of very high quality shows with little awareness. And today, we’re available literally everywhere.”
EPIX is attracting viewers with their original scripted programming such as “Perpetual Grace, Ltd.,” starring Ben Kingsley; “Pennyworth,” a Batman prequel, and “Godfather of Harlem,” starring Forest Whitaker.
EPIX has also made its way in the documentary space with“Laurel Canyon,” a two-part documentary about the rock music revolution in Los Angeles during the 60s & 70s that garnered three of EPIX’s first Emmy nominations. EPIX’s other feature documentaries include “Slow Burn”, based on the popular political history podcast, and “Helter Skelter: An American Myth”,a new series length doc about Charles Manson and the Manson Family.
“Michael Wright has that rare combination of being both extremely well informed while also being very open to new creative story telling techniques, which makes him the ultimate creative partner to collaborate with,”says Lesley Chilcott, director of “Helter Skelter.”
On the heels of the premium channel’s new streaming app EpixNow and its overall digital efforts, Wright led EPIX to position itself to be a higher quality, lower-cost alternative to other premium channel competitors like HBO and Showtime.
“You’re not going to chase down HBO’s brand quality and top it,” Wright says. “So when we looked at it, we said, ‘What lane can we occupy that will allow us to grow?'”
EPIX has continued to amplify by shifting its programming to more of balance of Hollywood features and high-quality original programs. Since this shift in direction, EPIX has brokered new carriage deals, more than doubling their availability from 40 million cable subscribers to 85 million subscriber households since 2017. Wright prides himself on EPIX’s deep audience research that tailored the network so its viewers and subscribers who came to EPIX for its movies, also stay for its mix of high quality original dramas.
“I’m a big believer in addressable markets,” Wright says. “I don’t believe in randomly acquiring content hoping to find an audience after the fact. You need to figure out who’s out there, who’s likely to spend money on your service, and program to them.”
For the full article, please visit Variety.