Fox Film Studio Climbs on Social Media Gravy Train

Can a film studio be its own media brand?

New kid on the block Fox Atomic is betting the answer is yes with the expected launch of an ambitious new entertainment and social networking site at FoxAtomic.com, plus a line of graphic novels spun off from its youth-targeted films.

“It’s all about creating a cultural brand, and I think the only way you can do that is if you’re singularly focused on the audience you’re trying to attract,” John Hegeman, COO of FoxAtomic, told ClickZ News. “Disney means ‘family.’ In the past Miramax meant ‘specialized art.’ [In general] it’s very hard for an audience to be loyal to a movie studio because they’re making movies for different audiences.”

The model Fox Atomic is aiming for is much closer to the segmented cable shows for specific audiences that proliferated in the mid 1980s and early ’90s, Hegeman said. “This is the 21st century version of it, providing entertainment on an ongoing basis to a specific audience.”

As such a statement would suggest, FoxAtomic.com has a much broader mandate than mere promotion of the studio’s upcoming films, which include “Turistas,” “The Hills Have Eyes 2” and “28 Weeks later,” or its line of graphic novels. The bigger goal is to establish a tight-knit online community around entertainment content that can generate a large volume of advertising.

Whether it can do so depends on how much original and syndicated content it can conjure up each day. It’s also hoping to channel that elusive combination of features and attitude that makes for a CGM hit.

Cross-promotion with other Fox content is likely, but the company hedged on how much material it would solicit from beyond the News Corp. family.

“Fox as a whole does a lot of different things, whether it’s 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight or Fox TV,” said Hegeman, and added, “If our audience is into another studio’s movie, it’s important for us to have information and material about that movie.

Partnerships announced so far include one with Jumpcut.com to offer a video editing and viewing application called The Blender, and content partner Stupidvideos.com will provide its short-form viral videos.

Ad products will likely include a combination of in-stream video, display and text listings, which Hegeman said Fox Atomics will “constantly fine tune,” and the company hopes to offer special promotions to advertisers and site users.

The beta version of a new site will be “launching momentarily,” according to the copy now on display at the future site’s URL.

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