Epix will relaunch its streaming service as MGM+ next year

Add more brands to the list of those hopping on the “+” service train. First, on January 15, 2023, MGM will relaunch its film-focused Epix streaming service and TV channel as MGM+. It will continue Epix’s mix of originals and “curated” films from different studios. You’ll find it in the familiar places, too, including via Prime Video (it’s owned by Amazon MGM, after all), other digital services, and traditional TV providers.

At the same time, Starz has just rebranded its international streaming service, Starzplay, to Lionsgate+ for 35 of the 63 countries in which it operates. North Americans will continue to see the usual Starz name, while Lionsgate Play (in parts of Asia) and Starzplay Arabia will also remain unchanged. As with MGM+, the actual service remains. According to Starz boss Jeffrey Hirsch, it’s more about capitalizing on the “valuable” nature of the Lionsgate name and trying to differentiate yourself (by appending the same “+” as everyone else).

TechCrunch notes that Lionsgate plans to divest Starz of its studio business and hoped the spin-off would complete the move this summer. That clearly didn’t happen, but the rebranding is a step in that direction.

In any case, the strategy is known. As with the revival of CBS All Access as Paramount+, it’s an attempt to make the best of a well-known brand while embracing a streaming-first reality. Whether that helps is another story. Its streaming businesses are relatively small (Starz has 35.8 million subscribers, for example) compared to heavyweights like Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and Netflix. They’re not in trouble, but name changes alone are unlikely to boost demand.

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Russell Falcon

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