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Amazon to shut down MGM HD cable movie channel

The logo of pay television network MGM HD.
The logo of pay television network MGM HD. (Logo courtesy MGM/Amazon, Composite graphic by The Desk)

Amazon will shut down the linear cable movie channel MGM HD by the end of the month, The Desk confirmed this week.

The closure of the channel comes as Amazon works to build up the content library of its premium multiplex movie network, Epix, which will rebrand as MGM Plus next year. Amazon acquired Epix and MGM HD through a broader purchase of MGM Studios in May.

In a note to subscribers, a spokesperson for MGM HD said its channel’s last day will be October 31. Movies and TV shows that previously aired on MGM HD are expected to be available on MGM Plus when it takes over for Epix early next year, which will continue as a multiplex movie network as well as a standalone streaming service.

Unlike Epix, MGM HD was not widely carried on cable, satellite and streaming systems in the United States. The channel had national distribution on DirecTV’s satellite platform as well as the streaming service Philo, where it was offered in the “Movies & More” package.

MGM HD was once carried on Comcast’s Xfinity cable systems, but was removed from the Xfinity line-up in early 2019. Dish Network also offered MGM HD to subscribers of its satellite service, but removed the channel in August.

The channel has met a similar fate in some international markets, where localized versions of MGM HD were launched on cable and satellite systems in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Poland and Russia. MGM HD stopped broadcasting in those countries years before Amazon’s purchase of MGM Studios.

Amazon continues to operate two international variants of MGM HD — one for viewers in Germany, the other for cable subscribers in Israel. The long-term plans for MGM HD in those countries wasn’t immediately clear as of Tuesday.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).