Another company has fallen under the dark sway of the plus sign, sacrificing its old brand identity in favor of following the hot trend where you just take an established company name and put “+” at the end of it—signifying “more!” but also hopefully creating an association in your mind with Disney+, the streaming service that gave us Baby Yoda. Don’t you love Baby Yoda? Well, that means you should also love Paramount+ and Discovery+ and Apple TV+ and AMC+ and CNN+ (okay, maybe not that one) and ESPN+ and now… MGM+.
As announced today in a press release, MGM+ will be taking the place of cable network/streaming platform Epix in “early 2023” as part of a brand-wide relaunch. All the old Epix content you know and love (like Godfather Of Harlem and a second example) will still be there in all of the same places where Epix was available (Prime Video, cable packages, streaming) but it will fall under the MGM+ branding. There will also be some new things, like Chris Brancato’s new crime drama Hotel Cocaine, a follow-up to Julian Fellowes’ Belgravia series, a docuseries about the Amityville murders, and a documentary about the San Francisco music scene in the ‘60s and ‘70s.
This rebrand comes just as Epix was getting called out for allegedly blowing millions of dollars of potential profits for some of the famous community’s most famous people—including Tom Cruise and Sandra Bullock. Just last week, various people involved with recent Paramount movies objected to an ongoing deal that the studio has with Epix (which was renewed last year but predates the streaming boom and the launch of Paramount’s own Paramount+), claiming that they’re getting a lot less money from it than other people are getting from similar deals at other cable networks/streaming platforms.
The timing is almost certainly coincidental (you don’t decide to rebrand your whole company in a week, though coming up with the name “MGM+” definitely took less time than that), but that issue does speak to why this rebrand is probably a good idea: The name “Epix” calls to mind a lower-tier HBO competitor on par with, say, Starz (which also just announced that it’s rebranding as Lionsgate+ outside of the U.S.), but MGM is an iconic Hollywood brand. It has a lion! Slapping a “+” on the end of that name feels like the kind of legitimacy that they want, and if that translates to more viewers and more millions of dollars for poor, poor Tom Cruise, everybody wins.