Lionsgate casts wider FEARNet


TORONTO -- Canadian studio Lionsgate on Friday said it plans to grow FEARNet, the horror movie VOD and broadband service it operates in partnership with Sony Pictures Entertainment and Comcast, into a linear 24/7 channel.

Stock in Vancouver-based Lionsgate fell by $0.38, or 3.6%, to end Friday at $10.27 on the New York Stock Exchange after the company posted a widening second-quarter loss Thursday and then revealed during a Friday analyst call that it has incurred "unbudgeted expenses" because of the FEARNet launch.

But Lionsgate executives indicated that they are negotiating a linear launch for FEARNET on U.S. carriers that was not contingent on the success of the on-demand virtual channel currently on Comcast.

Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer pointed to the September launch of the PBS Sprout kids linear channel on Comcast as a model that FEARNet might possibly follow.

Additionally, Feltheimer announced that Simon Franks, founder of film distributor Redbus Films, which Lionsgate purchased last year and renamed Lionsgate U.K., will be relocating to Australia to launch a local movie distribution operation in that market.

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