The reign for thriller, suspense and horror-themed FEARnet is over. Mass media and communications company Comcast has bought out its partners — Sony Pictures Entertainment and Lionsgate Entertainment — in the joint venture to take 100% ownership. The transaction closed this morning, which takes the status FEARnet had as a stand-alone brand and folds it into Comcast’s NBC/Universal Cable Entertainment division. A spokesperson at NBC/Universal’s Cable Entertainment division had this to say.
“NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment has acquired all remaining interests in FEARnet from its productive venture with Lionsgate and Sony. FEARnet, along with its popular content, will be integrated into NBCU Cable Entertainment. This process will take place over a yet to be determined period of time.”
FEARnet is expected to be absorbed into Comcast/NBCU Cable Entertainment’s Chiller cable channel, which has similar programming. Some content from FEARnet will find its way onto the Syfy Channel.
Ten of FEARnet’s 25 employees will stay on through the transition, while the remainder were given their walking papers today.
FEARnet was launched on Halloween in 2006. It had a variety of media outlets as a cable channel, website and VOD service. The multi-media outlet started as a three-way partnership between Comcast, Lionsgate and Sony, each of them owning a third. Feeling left behind, NBC/Universal launched its own horror-based digital cable network Chiller in January of 2007. Chiller became part of Comcast’s portfolio via the company’s 2011 acquisition of NBC/Universal, which included the Syfy Channel. In other words, Comcast already had Chiller, while acquiring FEARnet today, there was no need to have two outlets with the same programming. FEARnet was a collaboration between Comcast, Lionsgate and Sony for over seven years. Lionsgate and Sony opted to sell their share to Comcast to monetize their minority stakes in what had been a non-core asset for them rather than continuing.