×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

FX Networks to Launch App That Could Counter Netflix

FXNow app stocked with blockbuster movie library unavailable on subscription VOD

A cable network like FX and a streaming service like Netflix might not appear to be direct competitors, but that’s going to change in December.

That’s when FX Networks, a 21st Century Fox-owned portfolio of channels including FXM and FXX, will launch an app with the kind of library aimed at squarely providing multichannel subscribers with the kind of movie selection they might otherwise look to Netflix to provide.

FXNow will boast the kind of library titles that are in Netflix’s sweet spot, including multiple installments of popular franchises such as “Iron Man,” “Twilight,” “Thor” and “Grownups,” not to mention “The Avengers,” “Captain America,” “Ted and “World War Z.” (Netflix gets some of those titles in the pay-TV window, but they disappear from the service in the basic-cable window where FX and Netflix buy most of their movies.)

Some 40-60 titles will be available on FXNow at one given time, and they will not be available to any SVOD service. FXNow will also have recent episodes of FX and FXX original series.

Appearing at the Variety Entertainment and Technology Summit on Monday, Chuck Saftler, president of program strategy and COO of FX Networks, said cablers have to adapt to the changing times by providing audiences access to a nonlinear TV-viewing experience.

“We’ve got to understand that viewers sometimes are going to want things live and they’re going to want to lean back,” said Saftler. “And sometimes they’re going to want to engage and lean forward and be able to get the programs they want when they want them, and that’s where the app is.”

Saftler said FX approached cable operators to offer them exclusive, nonlinear, authenticated content. Because consumers can access FXNow only with a cable subscription, he said distributors were onboard for the venture. “Right now, we’re in it with the distributor, and by being fully authenticated, by saying the only way you’re going to get that content is to pay your cable bill or your satellite bill,” he said.

Despite the app’s implications for a future free from distributors, Saftler said maintaining FX Networks’ relationship with multichannel video programming distributors is crucial. “Ultimately, the MVPDs help us fund the enormous amount of programming that we’re making, and we want to keep that ecosystem healthy because it ultimately puts a lot of people to work and gives people a lot of choice in their entertainment,” he said.

FXNow would be available only to subs who can authenticate their subscriptions to cable, satellite and telco services, but that’s a pretty wide swath of viewers considering FX in particular is broadly penetrated across U.S. homes.

One big tradeoff: While FXNow is free with your subscription, its movies will still be interrupted by commercials.

As the driving force behind FX Networks’ acquisitions strategy, Saftler has long been building a stockpile of top theatrical titles through a range of expensive deals with studios including Universal, Sony and Paramount. However, it wasn’t quite clear until now exactly why considering most of FX’s basic-cable competitors concentrated more on acquiring episodic series, which are thought to be a stickier attraction for encouraging habitual viewing.

More TV

  • Alternatino With Arturo Castro

    Arturo Castro on 'Leaving a Little Blood in the Water' for 'Alternatino'

    In some circles, Arturo Castro is best known for his role as the colorfully comedic Jaime on Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer’s “Broad City,” while others recognize him most as the much more serious and dramatic David on Netflix’s “Narcos.” But the writer, producer and performer doesn’t want to be put in a box. That’s [...]

  • GRAND HOTEL - "Pilot" - Eva

    TV Review: 'Grand Hotel'

    There’s hardly a better setting for a summer drama than a swanky Miami hotel overflowing with champagne and secrets. Enter ABC’s “Grand Hotel,” based on a Spanish series and developed by Brian Tanen (“Devious Maids,” “Desperate Housewives”). It wastes no time diving straight into a tangled mess of melodrama, ranging from missing people to secret [...]

  • POSE -- Pictured: Billy Porter as

    ‘Pose’ Renewed for Season 3 at FX

    “Pose” fans will be having a ball. FX has renewed the Ryan Murphy-created show, which is swiftly emerging as an awards contender, for a third season after only one episode of season 2 has aired. “Pose,” is a dance musical that explores the juxtaposition of several segments of life and society in New York: the [...]

  • CW Sets Premiere Dates for 'Batwoman,'

    CW Announces Fall Premiere Dates for 'Batwoman,' Final Seasons of 'Supernatural' and 'Arrow'

    The CW has announced its fall 2019 television season premiere dates, including the launch of two new series “Batwoman” and “Nancy Drew,” as well as the final season premieres for “Arrow” and “Supernatural.” As previously announced at the network’s upfront ceremony in May, “Batwoman” will lead the new superhero Sunday nights, paired with “Supergirl.” That [...]

  • Alternatino with Arturo Castro

    TV Review: Comedy Central's 'Alternatino with Arturo Castro'

    There’s something extremely cathartic about watching a Latinx comedian get his own platform to do as he pleases, ripping cliches in the entertainment industry and beyond with invigorating vehemence. With his new Comedy’s Central sketch show “Alternatino,” Arturo Castro has the rare opportunity to tell his own story and skewer the inevitably cringe-inducing perceptions of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content