The Fox cable
group is launching a younger-skewing sister channel to FX, looking to expand a brand known for top-notch original series dating back to “The Shield” in 2002. Tabbed FXX and scheduled for a
September debut, the new network will target an 18-to-34 demographic.
FXX will launch with four original comedies, including “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and “The League,” which will both move from FX. There will also be a late-night presence and over time, the plan is to add original dramas. (A 10th season of “Sunny” has been ordered for the fall of 2014.)
Speaking at FX’s first upfront event, networks chief John Landgraf described FXX as aiming to serve as a “home for the rebellious passion for the unexpected and unique” that attract young people today. Plans call for distribution in 74 million homes within year one.
The FX Networks expansion will also include adding original mini- and limited-series to the films on the former Fox Movie Channel, now known as FXM.
Overall, FX Networks is promising 25 scripted series across the three networks annually as it ramps up.
Landgraf said FX has resisted holding an upfront presentation before because “we’ve never seen ourselves as imitators, who follow in broadcast networks’ footsteps.”
Landgraf looks to position FX as a challenger both to broadcasters with ratings and HBO with quality. “FX has always been more akin to a premium basic cable channel,” he said. An “FX Fearless” branding campaign is coming.
With ad sales, he said FX offers buying opportunities “without the legacy CPMs” broadcast networks charge.
As FXX looks to a younger demo, FX will continue to target 18- to-49-year-olds, while FXM will be aimed at 25- to-54-year-olds. FX is also moving expansively into multiplatform, on-demand distribution with an FX Now concept that covers FX video on demand, an FX Now app, FXNetworks.com and authenticated offerings from cable, satellite and telco TV providers.
“This really is our answer to SVOD,” said FX sales chief Bruce Lefkowitz. (SVOD is subscription video on demand and covers Netflix, Amazon and other providers.)
FX programming will be made available on the platforms the morning after their linear debut. For advertisers, the ratings within on-demand programming will be aggregated into a single C3 number.
The fast-forward option will be disabled with all on-demand advertising. “The strategy we’ve developed is one designed to obviate DVR usage,” Lefkowitz said.
After a three-day window, FX will look to monetize viewing partly with dynamic ad insertion.