Comcast, Sony Team for Horror Network

Comcast and Sony Pictures Entertainment have unveiled plans to launch an ad-supported, multi-platform network of horror content in time for Halloween.

The as-yet-unnamed network would create a new distribution platform for content from Sony as well as for MGM’s library, which Comcast and Sony purchased last year along with other investors. The content will be available on Comcast’s video on demand (VOD) and via the Internet at launch, with plans for a wireless platform in the future.

Advertising details have not been determined yet, though both the online and VOD channels will be ad-supported, Comcast spokesperson Tim Fitzpatrick told ClickZ News. It’s likely the Web site will include a combination of video clips and multimedia banner advertising, which will be sold along with the VOD ads by Comcast’s existing ad sales teams, he said.

Horror and thriller films have re-emerged on the mainstream film scene in the last several years with twenty percent of feature films released by major studios in 2005 falling into this category, according to Fitzpatrick. It’s attractive to advertisers because it appeals to the sought-after 18-34 demographic, who are already heavy VOD and Internet users.

“Horror fans not only like this genre, they are passionate about it,” said Diane Robina, Comcast’s newly appointed president of emerging networks. “The number of horror fans is growing exponentially, and they are hungry for this kind of multi-media experience. This is the perfect time and the ideal platform to introduce a dedicated horror experience.”

The network will feature film and TV contemporary thrillers, suspense dramas, horror titles from the hundreds of such titles in the Sony and MGM libraries, Fitzpatrick said. The Web site and on-demand offerings are expected to launch on Halloween, October 31. Comcast expects to follow up this network with similar ones for other genres.

The Web site aims to become a destination for the horror fan community, and will include exclusive multimedia offerings like movie outtakes, music downloads, original animation and behind-the-scenes footage. The network plans to add a wireless component with horror ringtones, sound effects and other mobile features.

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