Epix follows Amazon into the brave new world of offline viewing

The Hunger Games Catching Fire
Movie channel Epix will give its subscribers the option to download select films to mobile devices this month. The new offline viewing feature, which comes on the heels of offline viewing from support from Amazon Prime Instant Video, will work on iPhones, iPads, Android mobile phones, and Kindle Fire devices.

Epix’s new feature appears to be limited to those who subscribe through cable or satellite packages, though it’s not clear whether or not subscribers to pay-TV alternatives like Dish Network’s Sling TV will also have access to the content offline.

“By creating a network first, true TV Everywhere experience, consumers can now download a movie from our library and watch it anywhere, anytime, even without a Wi-Fi connection – while waiting at the airport, traveling by train, commuting to work, or even on a camping trip, said Epix CEO Mark Greenberg in a statement. “Consumers now have guaranteed content mobility.”

The new feature will be limited to the top “few hundred titles,” from a deep catalog which includes popular movies like The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Skyfall, and Star Trek Into Darkness, as well as music and comedy features from Katy Perry, Craig Ferguson, Louie CK, and Mark Maron. 

Variety has reported that users will be able to download as many as 25 titles at once with a 30 day window to watch, though Epix did not elaborate on any limitations, only stating that offline viewing will become available this month after launching “with a marketing campaign in partnership with affiliated distributors.”

Calling today’s move a first for traditional networks, Epix has entered a new era ahead of more prominent premium channels like HBO and Showtime. On the flipside, both of those big time names offer standalone streaming apps which allow you to access their entire catalogs, without the need for a cable or satellite subscription — as long as you’re online, that is.

Launched in 2009, Epix is one of the youngest premium channels on the block, and the network is no doubt hoping to make waves with its innovative new way to watch. It’s difficult to say if rivals will follow suit, but there’s no doubt they’ll be paying attention to see how this latest evolution in the ever-shifting entertainment landscape is received.

The announcement comes as Epix begins licensing its content to Hulu on October 1, following the end of a licensing deal with Netflix. The latter has vowed never to offer offline viewing. However, in this brave new entertainment paradigm — where the line between traditional networks and streaming services continues to blur as both sides constantly fight for the upper hand — never say never.

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