FearNet Seeking Basic Carriage


Subscription video-on-demand service
FearNet will look to scare up operator-affiliation deals
this summer for its proposed Oct. 1 launch as a linear

The multiplatform service, owned by Lionsgate, Sony
Pictures Television and Comcast, will launch as a predominately
digital-basic movie channel in time for the 2010 Halloween
season, FearNet president Diane Robina said. The
network’s in-house affiliate-sales team is currently talking
to major multichannel-TV distributors, including network
parent Comcast, about the channel’s high-definition
and standard-definition feeds, although it has yet to secure
any deals.

Comcast, Cox Communications, Verizon Communications’
FiOS TV, AT&T’s U-verse TV, Insight Communications,
Bresnan Communications and Guadalupe Valley
Systems offer FearNet content via video on demand, representing
28 million homes.

Much like the subscription VOD service, which launched
in 2006, the channel will rely on films and original series
from Sony Pictures Entertainment and Lionsgate, although
Robina said FearNet has not secured rights to specific titles. Lionsgate has produced and distributed such horror movie franchises as Hostel and
Saw, while other popular movies such as Night of the Living Dead and Wishmaster are currently
running on the FearNet website.

The move comes as the horror genre remains a top box-office draw, with films like Shutter
($128 million at the box office), A Nightmare on Elm Street ($62 million) and The Wolfman
($61 million) among the top-20 revenue-grossing films thus far in 2010.

FearNet would join a limited list of digital basic-cable movie networks that includes MGM
HD, IFC, Fox Movie Channel, Turner Classic Movies, Lifetime Movie Network and Hallmark
Movie Channel. FearNet will also compete with NBC Universal’s Chiller for basic-cable dominance
in the horror genre.

Robina said FearNet’s VOD success — the service averages 12 million views per month —
as well as its presence as the No. 1 online horror-movie destination, generating 1.98 million
page views a month, bodes well for its success on cable.

“We’ll be an HD movie channel that appeals to a younger demographic — 18-to-34-yearolds
— that is technologically savvy,” Robina said. “It just seemed natural for us to expand
into the linear space.”

FearNet will also have some original content, said Robina, and several projects are in the
works. One of those — animated series Mari Kari, featuring veteran TV access Shannen
Doherty — is running online and could migrate to the cable network.

“A lot of the [Sony and Lionsgate] movies that are made for direct-to-video could also appear
first on the channel and then in the DVD stores,” she added.