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Fearnet scares up cable deal

Horror movies channel picked up by TW

Fearnet, the horror-movies-on-demand joint venture of Sony Pictures TV, Lionsgate and Comcast, has engineered a carriage deal with Time Warner Cable, marking its biggest transaction since the service opened for business 18 months ago.

“Hostel,” “Halloween II,” “When a Stranger Calls,” “Cujo” and “Rosemary’s Baby” are some of the service’s current titles, which Fearnet offers for free (with limited commercial interruptions) both in the on-demand platform and on the Fearnet.com website.

The Time Warner deal adds 8.4 million digital subscribers to the Fearnet roster, swelling its total to 29 million.

Fearnet’s growth in viewership has spurred it to commission Ghost House Pictures (one of whose partners is Sam Raimi) to produce original scripted miniseries, including “Devil’s Trade” and two sequels to the film “30 Days of Night”: “Blood Trails” and “Dust to Dust.” Sony also produced an original for Fearnet called “Buried Alive.”

In any given month, said Diane Robina, president of Fearnet, the service has 40 movies in the mix. Cable operators pay a monthly license fee to Fearnet and use the service as a lure to get more subscribers to buy digital boxes. Time Warner will slot Fearnet in two platforms: in its Cutting Edge on-demand channel (with other networks including Adult Swim, Anime and G4) and in its free-movies-on-demand channel.

Time Warner, Comcast, Cox and Insight are among the cable operators buying Fearnet, eager to try any means to get digital boxes into homes. These boxes are portals for new revenue generators such as high-speed Internet access, telephone service and high-definition VOD.

Advertisers who buy time on Fearnet include Sony Pictures, Warner Bros., Paramount, Fox, Sega, Unilever, Boost Mobile, the U.S. Navy and Hasbro.

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